Soccer turned football star has sights set on big league

ALTHOUGH she is one of Collingwood’s most consistent defenders over the last couple of years, Katie Lee is yet to find herself on an AFLW list.

Lee’s journey to this point is certainly not traditional.

Before joining the Magpies in 2018, she actually played soccer, and got quite far up the soccer pathway ladder.

“So I played soccer from the age of, I was about 11 or 12 when I started. So I did my juniors days at Skye United and then moved to Casey Comets and played in the what was the WPL back then, and then I think it was 2016 [the league] changed to the WNPL and I moved to Bayside United. And yeah, finished up my soccer there and I did switch to footy in 2018.”

Although she played soccer for much of her childhood, she has always loved football, but football was not a serious possibility until a particular opportunity came along.

“I’ve always loved footy, like I think as a kid. I am a Bombers supporter at heart so I always followed footy and in my family are footy mad, so I think I’ve always loved the sport and I remember when I was in high school we had an equal opportunities day, so the girls would play footy and the boys went and played netball for the day, and I remember playing in that every year and loved it. But I think at that time soccer was a real focus of mine, and I was trying to reach the highest level I could in soccer at that stage so footy did not cross my mind seriously I guess, and then I think I just started to lose the love of the sport at the end and then footy came at literally the perfect time. It was literally my boss at the time, he just sent me a link to this Collingwood VFLW rookie draft. So I was like ‘oh yeah, I’ll give it a crack’ and yeah, rest is history.”

In only her second season, she was lucky enough to be a part of the Collingwood side that won the 2019 VFLW Grand Final, and she has fond memories of that afternoon.

“Oh my god, I reckon still to this day that is my favourite game. Words can’t really describe the feeling. A lot of excitement obviously, around it. Like that was the first Grand Final I’d ever played in for any sport so like that was amazing and then even now years later, the friendships and the bond you make with your team mates over that as well is just amazing, so yeah very, very special day.”

Like every footballer in Victoria recently, she had to try and stay motivated during the Covid interrupted seasons of 2020 and 2021.

She credits her team mates for staying motivated during that period. They made it a priority to stay connected and they made sure they touched base once a week.

Ever the team player, the main focus for Lee was finals, with being drafted definitely being a personal goal. Now that Collingwood’s season has finished, she can move focus to getting drafted, which is only a matter of weeks away. With her beloved Bombers joining the AFLW this season, will she get to live out a dream and play for the team she grew up supporting? Only time will tell.

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