When fifteen-year-old Indiah Riley of Murrumba Downs switched codes from rugby to football five years ago, no one could have anticipated how quickly the young striker would climb Football Queensland’s player pathway.
Starting her football career in The Lakes Football Club Under-12 team in 2013, Indiah joined the Moreton Bay United Football Club Under-15 team in 2015, where in 2016 she was given the opportunity to trial for Queensland at the Football Federation Australia (FFA) National Youth Championships. Spotted by a Brisbane Roar scout, Indiah undertook three weeks of trials, and was selected for Brisbane Roar’s U-17 Girl’s squad.
Recalling her reaction to learning she had been selected, Indiah admits, “I didn’t expect to get in so early.”
Indiah’s selection earnt her a place in the National Training Centre (NTC) program run by Brisbane Roar and Football Queensland, which works to both identify and prepare players for development, including possible future selection in Australian junior national teams.
By August this year, Indiah had been chosen to attend the Junior Matildas penultimate training camp ahead of the AFC 2017 U-16 Women’s Championship. Three weeks and four training camps later, Indiah was named one of the 23-player squad heading to Thailand to compete in the tournament.
“Three of the camps were trialling, and then the fourth camp was a preparation for the team that was going to Thailand, so we had one week to prepare before we left for the tournament.”
On September 14, Indiah (a substitute) made her Junior Matildas debut in the second crucial match against DPR Korea.
“I was pretty nervous because I was a sub and I didn’t know if I was going to go on. And then when they told me at half time that I was going to go on, I was like, okay I just need to calm down, prepare myself and control the nerves before I go on, and then when I was on, it just felt normal.”
The Junior Matildas 7-0 loss to DPR Korea means the team won’t be heading to Uruguay next year for the FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup, but that hasn’t diminished the experience for Indiah.
“It’s still so incredible to think that I’ve played for Australia for world cup qualifiers. Playing with and being surrounded by all the other teams and the best players from around Australia was amazing.”
Despite her Brisbane Roar commitments occupying four weeknights and weekends, Indiah has continued playing as a midfielder for Murrumba State Secondary College’s football team, Murrumba Pride.
Deputy Principal and founding Football Academy Coordinator, Mr Alistair Watt, says, “Academically and football-wise, Indiah forms the perfect student athlete. When she plays for the school, the team dynamic on the field really lifts, and she’s a good role model for the younger kids because they all know how hard she trains, and she’s still getting A’s on her report card.”
When quizzed on her future football plans, Indiah says, “The Roar W-League are in training now so I’ll train with them, and hopefully next year I might be offered a contract. If not, I want to go overseas and play college football in America.”
Having watched and supported Indiah’s development for the last four years both at and outside of school, Mr Watt is confident that she will one day be a professional footballer, saying, “She’s got the right attitude, and she’s very humble as well.”