• “I just love scoring goals": Shadeene Evans. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Shadeene Evans - it’s a name you should start remembering from now on.
By
Philip Ly

Source:
NITV News
31 Mar 2016 - 11:46 AM  UPDATED 31 Mar 2016 - 12:34 PM

From playing football barefoot in 40 degrees heat in a small Northern Territory town to being scouted by a national coach, the young Indigenous teen is being recognised as a rising star.

Evans, 14 of Borroloola, has been brought to Westfield Sports High School in Sydney to further pursue football after Matildas coach Alen Stajcic spotted her playing at the national championships for the NT under-17 side last year.

“I saw this young girl which was a very good mover around the field and quite quick and sharp and had a bit of an x-factor,” Stajcic says.

“I started watching her play a bit more and when I found out she was only 13 I was blown away that someone her age could play like that.”

He says it was a surprise to see her play with a level of technicality given the lack of football she’s played.

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He adds, Evans is among the top few he’s seen with such natural talent and her future lies in her hands.

Evans is the first John Moriarty Football graduate, a not-for profit initiative based in the Northern Territory town of Borroloola which aims to better the lives of young Indigenous children through football.

She says it all began for her when she followed her brother with the round ball when she was nine.

“I went down every afternoon and felt like I just wanted to play it,” she says.

“I just love scoring goals. I just feel so happy because it makes me want to score more.”

She says everyone is crazy about football in her town and see the sport as a pathway to a better life.

Receiving so much support and encouragement “feels amazing”.

John Moriarty, who was also born in Borroloola and is the first Indigenous footballer to represent Australia, says Evans is jumping ahead in leaps and bounds.

Her schoolmate Jada Whyman, a Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta girl, plays in the W-League for the Western Sydney Wanderers.

She says “there’s not much of us out there” and knows how hard the journey has been for Evans in such a small period of time.

“Football will change her life as it has mine, heaps.”

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“She’s a leader already and has been a huge influence to her entire community and I hope more young girls out there especially in the Aboriginal community, to chase their dreams and never give up.”

Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop says the youngster is now a role model for other boys and girls from remote communities such as hers, and many people will be watching her progress not only in football, but with the opportunities she’ll be given through the game.

Professional Footballers Australia Craig Foster has called Evans’ ability “extraordinary talent” and is telling of a bright future in talent identification in untapped communities.