MEET the Marsden school counsellor who has become an ambassador for the inaugural Australian Premier Indigenous Football Championships.
Allira Toby is a Roar W-League striker and winner of last year’s Golden Boot award, scoring more goals than any other player on her team.
“Can I bend it like Beckham? That’s how it’s supposed to go. It’s what I aim for but I’m not sure it always works,” she laughed.
Indigenous footballers from all around Australia have descended on Logan for the inaugural Australian Premier Indigenous Football Championships at Roar FC’s training facilities at Logan Metro Sports Park.
Some 100 indigenous coaches, team managers, physios and captains, sponsors, indigenous leaders and performers gather for the opening ceremony tonight.
Representatives from 60 Indigenous communities are among 26 registered to take part from New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Queensland. Senior football administrators also visit from South Australia and Western Australia.
The sports action unfolds from Thursday to Saturday, with highlights to include a celebrity match and presentation that announces indigenous men’s and women’s teams that will compete at next year’s Arafura games.
Toby, from Ipswich, said she was proud of her heritage.
”I don't know how to put it into words exactly,” she said.
“My family gave up a lot for me to pursue football and get to where I am today. I am the only indigenous player in the Roar team and the only one in Queensland W-League I think. That’s something very special.”
Toby can’t wait to get out and meet the teams tomorrow.
“I’ll be heading in to meet people and say hello,” she said.
Though Toby won’t play, she looked foward to watching her sister compete with a visiting team from up north.
Toby works as a counsellor at Marsden High where she tries not to make too much of weekend gig as a footballer for Roar.
“I suppose most students know but I don’t make a big thing out of it. I try to keep it to myself,” she said.
“My role here is to work with indigenous and Torres Strait Islander students – there’s 170-plus students – and to support them if they need a person here to help with stuff and give them a positive outlook on life and with their schooling.”
The dream, Toby said, was to play with the Matildas.
“Every young woman soccer player hopes to put on the green and gold and represent her country,” she said.