Life-changing move to Ipswich keeps teenager rising
FROM Ayr to Ipswich. From Western Pride to Brisbane Roar.
Goalkeeper of the future Elli Chapple is delighted she made the move south.
Chapple, 18, is preparing for another W-League season training with the Brisbane Roar women's side.
Although she is regarded as the third string Roar custodian, Chapple is keen to establish herself in the national competition, excited about the higher level coaching she is receiving.
The former North Queenslander said accepting a scholarship at Ipswich Girls' Grammar School in 2017 and 2018 was hugely beneficial for her football career.
"It pretty much changed my life I guess,'' she said.
"I wouldn't change it.''
Aged 15, Chapple left her family to board at IGGS and launch her National Premier Leagues career with Western Pride.
After a season based at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex, she played half a season for Lions before joining the Brisbane Roar NTC under-17 squad.
She also played state league with The Gap on her pathway to building a Roar career.
She is in her second season with Roar. Pre-season starts this week.
"It's pretty good. I love it,'' she said, now sharing a house with other talented footballers at Spring Mountain, near Springfield Central.
"I'm just getting back into it.''
While Mackenzie Arnold and Georgina Worth are ahead of her on the Roar goalkeeping rung, Chapple was buoyed by making her W-League debut against Perth last season. The teams drew 1-1.
"I got lucky,'' she said.
"I was so nervous but probably the best experience ever.
"That has definitely motivated me.''
She has continued to train with Brisbane Roar since.
"I definitely want to maintain it and get better,'' she said.
Another footballing highlight for Chapple was representing the Australian Schoolgirls team at the Dallas Cup tournament in April.
Chapple saved some shoot- out penalties in the grand final to help the Aussies secure victory. It was the first time a country outside the United States won the American series.
Having been to Japan twice while making junior state teams in Ayr, the former Queensland Schoolgirls representative has also served her state at the NTC Nationals in Canberra the past two years.
She graduated from IGGS last year, appreciative of the support she received at the school, especially from former Ipswich Knights coach Stewart Drinkeld.
"He was like my favourite teacher,'' she said.
"He helped me so much in grade 11.''
Chapple thrived in the school's highly regarded football program while furthering her National Premier Leagues career.
"It (being at IGGS) helped me a lot. IGGS was a good school,'' she said.
While boarding in Ipswich, Chapple shared in the school's undefeated uhlsport and QGSSSA successes.
The 168cm tall goalkeeper is now juggling training and her full-time reception work with waste transport company Austrans at Karalee.
At an important stage of her football development, she's grateful for the assistance she receives from her boss Kylie Fisher.
"She has been so supportive and understands I've got training and has helped me,'' Chapple said.
Chapple said her parents Amanda and Murray were a tower of support, still based in North Queensland.
"I never thought that I would get this far,'' she said, keen to keep rewarding those who have helped her so much.
"I'm really happy with how everything has gone.''