Interview with Stephanie Catley, Sportsmart employee and Melbourne Victory captain

When did you develop your passion for football?
My passion for football started a long time before I even started playing for an organised team. My brother and I use to play around in the front yard with two other boys who lived up the road from us. I also played at school during lunch times with the boys in my year level; when I was six I copied my brother and joined the same club as him – East Bentleigh Soccer Club.

How long have you been playing with Melbourne Victory?

I have just recently completed my fifth season with Melbourne. I made my debut against Perth Glory at Etihad stadium when I was 15.

What position do you play?

I play Left back. During my junior years I was always a left midfielder and I loved to attack, so I enjoy moving forward from my defensive position too.

Tell us about representing Australia in the Matilda’s.

There is no better feeling. I’ve represented Australia at junior levels (Under 17’s and 20’s) and putting on the Australian uniform was always the greatest feeling. However, nothing can match the first time I put on my first Matilda’s shirt. I was 17 and we played against New Zealand in Wollongong. That was one of the best moments in my life so far because I’d reached a personal goal of mine, something that I’d worked so hard to get to.

You’ve recently been signed to play for Portland in the NWSL – what differences do you expect with the standard of play compared to the W-league in Australia?

I suppose I’m not entirely sure what to expect, I’ve played with a fair few Americans who have come to Melbourne Victory and many of them have played with the same sort of characteristics – hard working, strong and quick. The speed of play was something I noticed after watching a few NWSL games online last season, one-two touch football. I can’t wait to get over there to start training and learning.

Which boots do you wear, and why are they your top choice?

I wear Nike Tiempo Legends and always have – my first ever pair of Nikes were a pair of Tiempos (photo below).
Personally, I don’t like boots that are too light. So I find the Tiempos to be the perfect weight. I also love the classic design, they’re not too flashy but they’re quite interesting with the colours that they bring out.

Stephanie's Tiempos

What is your training regime?

With Melbourne Victory – Training 4 times a week, 1-2 gym sessions, 1 personal skills/running session.
I have a scholarship with the Victorian Institute of Sport and in the off-season I complete strength and conditioning there.
And with the National team, we train every day when we’re in camp, sometimes twice a day.

What training gear do you wear?

It depends which team I’m representing. In the national team we wear Nike, and we wear Adidas for Melbourne Victory. Personally, I love Nike – all of their training gear is super comfortable and attractive, and of course I always pick Tiempos as my preferred boot.

Who inspires you?

Lots of people have inspired me throughout my life: from my lovely mother Lesley – who has worked hard her entire life to give my brother and I everything she possibly could and also driven me out to Darebin four nights a week for training until I was old enough to buy a car – to my favourite St Kilda player Lenny Hayes, whose leadership skills, modesty and ability to be consistently brilliant on the field inspire me everyday. Just to name a couple…

What’s been your career highlight so far?

So far, making my debut for the Matildas and winning the W-League with Melbourne Victory this year.

Who do you follow in the EPL?

I follow Liverpool. They are so enjoyable to watch, they move the ball around quickly and skilfully and I could watch players like Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez all day.

How long have you worked at Sportsmart, and what does your job entail?

I have worked at Sportsmart since I finished high school which was end of 2011, start of 2012.
I work in the mighty Footwear department. My job entails helping customers to find the right shoe/boot for them, lots of tidying, making shelf talkers (my favourite part of the job), unpacking and putting away new stock and lots of other things.

How do you find a balance with fitting in all your commitments?

Balance is always difficult when my football is pretty much full-time; when I was fresh out of high school and saving for a car, I worked at Sportsmart Monday through to Friday. Now I’m only working on Fridays because my commitments to football have grown quite dramatically since then. I enjoy the challenge of finding balance as it helps me appreciate the time I have to relax with family and friends. I’m currently in a busy time of year with the National team, but once I’m over in Portland I’m going to start an online course through Swinburne University – Bachelor of Education (Primary).

What do you like to do in your downtime?

I enjoy spending time with family and friends, heading to the beach, reading and I spend a lot of time getting coffee with my Melbourne Victory teammates. When I have downtime, I like to keep it as relaxed as possible so that I have enough energy for training later in the day.

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