Star student has more than one goal in mind

The Hills Sports High School student Jessika Nash has been formally recognised as one of the best young footballers in Australia.

Image: The Hills Sports High School student Jessika Nash has already played for the Matildas.

Grand final glory may have eluded her on this occasion, but for The Hills Sports High School footballer Jessika Nash, you sense the best is still very much to come.

The 17-year-old was part of the Sydney FC A-League Women’s squad that was surprisingly trumped in the competition decider by Melbourne Victory last month.

The defender watched from the bench as the Sky Blues were edged 2-1, a blip in what has been an extraordinary few years for the Year 12 student.

Already regarded as one of the best young players in the country and a member of the national Young Matildas’ squad, Nash got her first full senior international cap in 2021 when she took to the field against the might of the United States.

Then, prior to the A-League Women grand final, Nash was awarded the 2021 Collette McCallum Medal.

The award, which is a joint Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and Football Australia (FA) initiative, is presented to a player whose conduct and character align with and amplify the values of Australian football, honouring the contribution of former Young Matilda McCallum.

She was surprised when presented the award by Sydney FC captain Natalie Tobin in front of her Sky Blues teammates at training.

“This award means so much to me and it is an absolute honour to be recognised for my commitment to this amazing sport,” she said.

“My first year and first national team call up were surreal, especially playing alongside some of the best players in the world and playing against the top-ranked women’s team (United States).

Identified by Football Australia’s youth national team coaches for her strong leadership qualities within the Future Matildas and as co-captain of the Junior Matildas, Nash was a big hit playing for Canberra in her first A-League Women season in 2020/21 before moving back to Sydney.

Here she juggles her football commitments while preparing to complete her HSC at The Hills Sports High School this year.

While there’s plenty on Nash’s plate, she doesn’t have to turn too far for support from someone who has been there and done that in the NSW public school system.

Her Young Matildas coach Leah Blayney, herself a former Australian player, balances that role with her day job as a teacher at Westfield Sports High.

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