Brisbane Roar’s newest debutant Aleeah Davern says a supportive team environment helped alleviate some considerable nerves as she took her first steps into professional football last week.
Davern, 17, was elevated into the matchday squad for Wednesday’s away game against league leaders Sydney FC after signing her first Liberty A-League contract.
It added up to a whirlwind few days for the young midfielder, who was called off the bench in the final few minutes of normal time at Leichhardt Oval.
“You could see my face before I got on the field, I was quite nervous,” said Cairns product Davern, who has trained with the QAS since moving south 12 months ago.
“But it was really good. The team was very welcoming. Being new to the team, they were supporting me throughout the whole trip.
“They were just telling me it was all okay and to be calm when I got out there.”
With the Roar reduced to 10 players following a red card in the 59th minute, fresh legs were needed as the second half wore on and Davern got her chance.
“I was expecting to just go on if someone was injured or too tired [to continue],” the midfielder explained.
“It was intense. Obviously the A-League is going to be harder than the NPL, but training with girls like Katrina [Gorry] and Hollie [Palmer] and all the midfielders, I sort of knew what I was getting into.”
Head Coach Garrath McPherson said the experience would hold Davern in good stead as her promising career develops.
“Don’t underestimate the arena or the moment for some of those young people,” McPherson said.
“I reckon her heart rate was at about 200 beats per minute from the time she got to the airport to the time she got home!
“It will be an extremely valuable experience for her, taking it all in – the team meeting, the team walk, the matchday experience against top-of-the-table Sydney, in Sydney.
“For a 17-year-old who finished Year 12 two months ago, to get that experience already at her age will be really important for her to keep progressing to be a mainstay in this team and for her aspirations to represent the country.”
Feature image: Kyoko Kurihara