We’re so lucky to be in a country that strives for equal opportunity

As we enter our second season of the AFLW, and prepare for the 2023 AFLW season, we bring you our new series On the mark, presented by Bing Lee where we meet our AFLW team and find out what makes them tick.

Stay tuned to sydneyswans.com.au/aflw for all the latest interviews and AFLW news.

Like many of her teammates Sofia Hurley played Auskick from an early age. Long before the talent pathways of today, there were some pitfalls to playing the male-dominated sport.

At 11-years-old she fell out of love for football when her junior club couldn’t provide a female team. Hurley credits Dad for her success and admits she wouldn’t be playing AFLW without him, “dragging” her to the nearest club with a girls team. And due to progress made for equal opportunity in Australian sport, becoming a professional athlete is the reality for a lot more young women today. 

Here the 19-year-old discusses her journey to the AFLW.

At what point did you realise you could take your passion for AFL into a professional career?

“It wasn’t until my top age season of U18s. I had finished school the year before. I was working and playing footy during my gap year. In the past I was just focussed on school and being a teenager. When I had that break I thought, ‘This is fun’.

I got to know the AFLW competition and I thought it was a pretty sick opportunity that I didn’t want to waste.

How do you get into the sport?

“I did Auskick so I’ve been playing since I was 5. My older brothers played, and my older sister played too but at the time there was no path for her to continue. We come from a die-hard footy family in Melbourne. When I was 11 years old I wasn’t allowed to play with the boys anymore. I left my junior club and went to another club that had a girls team – I was really reluctant and dragged there by my parents. It turned out to be really fun and my favourite memories of footy are playing with the girls between 14 and 16.”

Who do you credit for your success?

“My dad. I wouldn’t be playing if it wasn’t for him. As much as I love it, he loves it as well and he’s the reason I’m playing AFLW today.”

What life lesson did you learn the hard way?

“Being organised. Doing school and footy meant I had to be really organised. When you have things to do, you just have to get it done. Do what you can today.”

Can you recall the most defining moment of your life so far? 

“Moving out of home and to Sydney at 18. When I look back at it now I think, ‘Wow, that was a really big jump.’”

If you weren’t playing AFL, what do you think you’d be doing?

“Right now, I’d be studying. I would love to be travelling, that would be ideal. I want to get into the construction industry with my architecture degree.”

What are you most grateful for? 

“Honestly, just living in Australia. I know that sounds cliché but we’re so lucky to be in a country that strives for equal opportunity. To be able to play a sport that’s trying to reach a professional level…there’s so many female sports that you don’t get paid for.”

What is your most controversial opinion?

“I don’t know if this is controversial but sleeping with socks. Some people think that’s weird.”

Whether you’re preparing for training or a match, do you have any superstitions or things you must do beforehand?

“No, I don’t think I have any superstitions.”

In your own opinion, what are your greatest strengths?

“Off the field I’m pretty organised and I have a good life balance. For footy I’d say I have good vision and quick decision making.”

Who is your sports hero?

“I used to really love Anthony Joshua who is a British boxer. Not because I’m into boxing but because I loved him as an athlete; so humble and so committed but also really balanced in his life which I thought was really admirable.”

This profile series is presented by Bing Lee.

Follow the Sydney Swans AFLW social media channels on Instagram and Twitter for all AFLW news and updates.


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