With round one of the AFLW season set to kick off this week, it’s timely to profile the City of Casey’s newest We Are We Can We Will program ambassador, Bianca Jakobsson.
The star wing for Melbourne Football Club’s AFLW team and former Cranbourne Football Club player has recently signed-on to support Council’s program aimed at empowering, encouraging and breaking down barriers to get more women and girls involved in sport and physical activity.
Bianca has provided some advice, encouragement and insights on why she loves being involved in sport as we work together to inspire and support more Casey women and girls to get active.
What is your background in sport and how did you get into footy?
I grew up in NSW, playing netball, basketball, swimming and athletics. I then moved to Victoria at the age of 10. My brother started playing football and I had always kicked the footy with him and always loved it. I started playing school footy at the age of 12. A girl in my school footy team said, “You can play, would you like to come down and play for our girls’ team at Narre South Lions?”. I never even knew girls’ teams existed at the time, but I jumped at the opportunity. I rocked up on the Saturday, got my jumper without even a training session and played a game that day. I fell in love with the sport there and then and have never looked back. I played all the way through youth girls, playing interleague and representing my state in National carnivals. I just wanted to keep improving and getting the best out of myself.
What drives and motivates you when it comes to football and being active?
What has driven me over the years has been the people that I am surrounded by. The team environment is something really empowering, it drives me to be the best I can be. I have such a love for the game, and I love seeing improvements come from putting in the hard work.
What barriers did you face during the journey leading up to the AFLW competition being launched and how did you overcome these barriers?
I was very lucky growing up, I had an elite sporting pathway for girls all the way through (I know some of my older teammates didn’t have this). I had a very supporting family who always loved the idea of me playing footy. They took me to all my trainings, my games, and all the various tryouts I had all over the city going through the youth girl’s competition. When I was 19 playing for Victoria in the National carnival against QLD in Cairns, I did do my ACL and that was probably one of the bigger barriers I’ve faced. Around that time, women’s footy was really growing. It’s quite funny as I was scheduled to play on the MCG two weeks later, for Melbourne in 2013 and as it turns out I am back in those red and blue colours today. I overcame this with my passion for the game; I wanted to get back to doing what I loved and being in that team environment.
Why do you think it’s important to have women and girls visible in sport and why did you agree to become an ambassador for Casey’s We Are We Can We Will program?
I think it is so important for girls of all ages to see women going out there and achieving their dreams. Role models are incredibly important, and they allow women to feel that they can do whatever they want to achieve, because I know sometimes there can be this perception that girls can’t go and play whatever sport they want. Especially with AFLW being so new, now young girls can see that there is a pathway, that they can play AFL just like their brother, their dad. I agreed to become an ambassador as the Casey area is very important to me, having grown up and playing footy here. I want women and girls to feel a sense of belonging, to feel empowered and feel great about themselves. I know the feeling that I get from playing sport, and I want to pass that on to other people.
What would your advice to women and girls in the community be about getting involved in sport and recreation?
I just think, if it is something that has crossed your mind, get out and do it. Getting involved in sport and recreation is life changing; it brings you in to a whole new supportive community. It is so good for all aspects of your life; well-being, socially, and it brings so many chances to learn new things. Get out there and get active today, or get involved in one of your local sporting teams, you won’t look back!
Find out more
To find out more about We Are We Can We Will and some ways you can get active in Casey visit the program webpage.
You can see Bianca and her Melbourne team mates in action this Sunday 3 February at Casey Fields, when they take on Fremantle in round 1 of the AFLW season.
With FREE entry, plenty of kids’ activities and prizes to be won, head along and cheer on Casey’s affiliated club for a great afternoon out. Further details are on the event page.