Cassie's bold ambition

Being the only girl at her Auskick centre did nothing to stop Cassandra Papadopoulos’ passion for footy.

As a five-year old, Papadopoulos would love heading down to her local Glen Waverley football ground and taking it up to the boys, decked out in all her beloved Collingwood gear.

But a year later, Papadopoulos’ Auskick career finished abruptly and she wouldn’t return to footy for 12 years.

“When I was about six, my dad said to me, “you can’t play football anymore, you’re a girl”,” Papadopoulos said.

“So, I started playing netball and I hated it, then tried basketball and it was OK.

Then I started soccer, and I thought, considering it was a ball sport, it was outside and it was kind of like football, that I could try to deal with it”.

Papadopoulos played soccer for eight years, playing predominantly as a goalkeeper.

But her soccer career always had an expiry date.

“When I turned 18, I realised I could sign my own forms so I went and signed up for football and here I am,” the 21-year old said.

Papadopoulos’ family remains averse to her playing football.

“They’re scared of me getting hurt,” Papadopoulos said.

“I’m a traditional Greek, so it’s a bit like “women do their thing, men do another” but I’m just the opposite of that, I will do whatever I want,” Papadopoulos said.

Evidently, Papadopoulos’ 12-year absence from the game has only increased her hunger to play now, and her sights are now firmly set out on reaching the pinnacle.

“Ultimately, I want to achieve an AFL contract out of this,” Papadopoulos said.

But if that doesn’t happen, she is just as grateful to be riding this wave of football’s revolution.

“Being a part of something great, this is something so new with women’s football, it’s exciting and it’s fresh”.

“Looking back, I used to be the only girl in this setting, growing up with boys, playing footy with boys but now finally being a part of something that is now just women is really special”.

Author: Jackson Paine

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs.

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