Number 2 for Newcastle Jets Women is impressive 18-year-old Sophie Nenadovic.
Having just returned from the Young Matildas' Asian Cup qualifiers in China last week, Nenadovic played her first game of the Westfield W-League 2016/17 Season against Melbourne Victory on Sunday where Jets Women came away with a 4-0 trashing over their opponents.
“Initially I was meant to be on the bench, but Grace [McIntyre] was sick which gave me the opportunity to start," Nenadovic said.
“I really enjoyed playing at right back, a position I’m familiar with and I got to play the full 90."
Nenadovic began her football career at the age of 10, signing with her local team, the Warners Bay Panthers.
Proving to be a stand out player from the get go, Nenadovic's talent was recognised only five years after her first game of football.
She progressed rapidly through the ranks and signed her first contract with the Jets for the 2013/14 season.
In 2013 and at the age of 15, Nenadovic played her debut game with the Jets in round 2 of the Westfield W-League when she was subbed on for the final 15 minutes of the game against Sydney FC.
“I went on as left fullback with about 15 minutes to go," she said. "I think Pete [McGuiness] was happy with how I played which gave me a lot of confidence.”
“The following week I was in the starting team against Adelaide and became a regular for the rest of the season, which was pretty exciting for my first season of the [Westfield] W-League."
Nenadovic's debut game proved to be a highlight in her already extraordinary footballing career.
Another highlight of Nenadovic's career would be her first Westfield W-League goal against Perth Glory, which again occurred in her first season with the Club.
After returning to Newcastle following a winter season playing for the Emerging Jets in Sydney’s Women’s Premier League, Nenadovic is glad to be back in the W-League set-up representing her hometown.
“[I] always feel supported and included at Newcastle," she said.
“I’ve also grown up in Newcastle, so to play for my hometown just seems right."
Coach Craig Deans commends the young gun, stating: “She’s technically a very good player, and as she’s so versatile she’s great to have in the squad."
“Where she filled in on the weekend, she did a great job and she played the full 90, which was the first time in a long time since a few injuries.”
“Her performance on the weekend was pleasing and hopefully she can continue on for the rest of the year and keep her sights on the Under 20’s national team for the World Cup in 2018,” Deans said.
ON THE FIELD:
Even when Nenadovic began in the Westfield W-League at 15, the Young Matilda had no fear coming up against players who were older or more experienced than her.
A strong two-footed player, her control of the ball often makes her touch look effortless.
Although Nenadovic's original position was in defence, her recent move into midfield has proved she is a versatile player, which will be imperative for the Jets this season.
Nenadovic's move into this role sees her team relying on her when taking corners, and it was her corner which aided Arin Gilliland’s beautiful header into the back of the net against Melbourne Victory last Sunday.
OFF THE FIELD:
When asking Nenadovic about what she likes to do in her spare time she simply replied: “What spare time?”
Between her busy footballing schedule Nenadovic is currently “working towards earning entry into a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at the University of Newcastle”.
When she does get a bit of down time Nenadovic enjoys soaking up some sun at one of Newcastle’s many awesome beaches!