Newcastle Jets goalie makes W-League history

WORKER: Newcastle Jets W-League goalie Hannah Southwell dives for the ball during training at Adamstown No.1 Oval.
WORKER: Newcastle Jets W-League goalie Hannah Southwell dives for the ball during training at Adamstown No.1 Oval.
HANNAH SOUTHWELL

HANNAH SOUTHWELL

A ROLL of the dice has landed Cameron Park's Hannah Southwell a successful sporting career at age 15.

Southwell is about to wrap up her first season playing for the Newcastle Jets in the W-League.

She spent last year training with the squad and this year was the youngest goalie in W-League history.

It was only by chance Southwell ended up playing football.

She started out playing rugby sevens with the Kotara Bears when she was six.

When she was 12, Southwell decided to test the water in some other sports - six to be exact: athletics, basketball, cricket, football, softball and touch football.

She was selected for New Lambton Public School's state PSSA football team in 2010.

"When I was little I never thought I'd like football, but I wouldn't change anything now," she said.

Southwell knew she wanted to be a goalkeeper from the outset.

"I knew I wasn't going to be very good on my feet," she said.

"Goalkeeping is almost a completely different sport itself.

"In some ways you've got to be better than the field players if you want to be your best."

This year she pushed through hip flexor and rotator cuff injuries to give 100 per cent and help Newcastle to fifth with semi-finals this weekend.

But it's not just her achievements with the Jets that have stamped Southwell as a star.

She was also a member of the Australian under-16 football squad in Malaysia in September, losing the grand final to South Korea, 1-nil.

Last month she helped the Australian under-20s team defeat Vietnam 2-nil in the Asian Football Championships.

The same week, Southwell became a first-time recipient of a Greater Building Society Olympic Sports Scholarship.

The Hunter Sports High School student will use the $2000 to travel to England if she makes the Combined High Schools Championships.

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