THE state’s best female football talent will put their skills to the test in a brand new competition that kicked off on the weekend.
The inaugural Jan Cooper Cup is made up of four double-header rounds, including a final at Subiaco Oval on March 10, and gives the more than 150 players involved a chance to prepare for the upcoming WAWFL season and the AFLW National 18s and 16s championships.
The four competing teams are made up of WA State Academy players, open age, 18s, 16s, rookie selections and players from other sports.
Hammond Park resident and East Fremantle Football Club player Annique Keisler is one such code hopper, making the switch from soccer to football a year ago.
“After 20 years of playing soccer I decided I wanted a new sporting challenge,” she said.
“At first the decision was hard because I’ve only ever played soccer, a sport I really loved and enjoyed, and I originally set out trying to juggle both sports.
“I’d train Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday for soccer and Wednesday, Friday, Saturday for football but it wasn’t until the season started that I realised it was too physically demanding to keep up the high workload.
“After some serious thinking and a lot of persuasion from the footy girls I decided that 2017 was a year of a new challenge.”
Keisler suited up for the Coast team in Saturday’s first round hit up against West and, despite her team going down 53-25, said she had enjoyed the experience.
“Coming from various clubs to play together for the first time is always going to be a challenge but after our first quarter we settled in and played really well as a team,” she said.
“I’m really excited for our next game because we’ve got the nerves out of the way and we know each other’s game style and I think we will come out even harder than our first game.”
Pioneering WA female footballer Jan Cooper, who the tournament is named after, said the introduction of the competition was a big thing for women’s football in the state.
“It’s a really great concept that has been established in other states with excellent results, so I commend the West Australian Football Commission’s Female Talent team on developing this cup concept in WA,” she said.
“It has the capability of fast tracking players from the country who don’t normally get exposed to the standard of play they will be involved in and will ensure that both coaches and players are challenged to progress and elevate their skills and understanding of the game.”
Round 2 of the Jan Cooper Cup is at Bunbury’s Hands Oval from 4pm, round 3 at Bendigo Bank Stadium, Mandurah from 3.30pm and the finals will be held at Subiaco Oval from 3.30pm on March 10.