When the AFL Women’s League launches in 2017, players like Maddie Boyd will enter the history books as one of the first women to compete at a national level. She’s been playing since she was a child and working towards playing at a national level before it was even a possibility.
Although she’s a natural athlete, Maddie is all too aware she needs to plan for life after the game. For the Geelong-raised student, enrolling in the Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science at Deakin University made sense. ‘I’m getting the knowledge base that will give me the confidence to work in the industry,’ Maddie says. But she’s also been given the opportunity to complete her commitments with an element of flexibility, so she can ensure she’s able to play at an elite level now and forge a strong path in sport after the final siren of her playing career.
In her first year, Maddie is learning the fundamentals while also focusing on her opportunity to play for the Melbourne Demons this year. ‘My playing career won’t be forever. So it’s important to get that educational base so I have career opportunities available in the future, whether that be in strength and conditioning, coaching – various roles hopefully – potentially within the AFL,’ Maddie explains. She plans to make those goals a reality through the relationships she’s building now, and with opportunities from Deakin University’s partnership with the Geelong Football Club.
‘I would like the opportunity to complete a placement with Geelong. Getting experience with the AFL before graduating would be a great start,’ she says.
Maddie believes that the launch of the AFL Women’s League will provide countless opportunities both on and off the field. ‘It’s going to open up so many doors and help with the gender inequalities that are currently present,’ she says.
‘I think the AFL Women’s League will really skyrocket the participation at a grassroots level and we’re going to see huge intakes of players coming through, which is exciting. They now have a pathway to aspire to,’ Maddie says. She believes she and her fellow players have a responsibility to encourage participation.
Off the field, she is focused on learning and developing interests in the behind-the-scenes components of elite sport. ‘I think it’s important to keep an open mind and consider options as you learn. There could be roles and career paths in the future that don’t exist yet,’ Maddie says.
Learn more about Deakin University’s Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science.
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