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Fitness, competition, camaraderie—for Dr Rachael Chan of Victoria’s Lightwood Dental in Ferntree Gully and Smile Centre in Heidelberg and Langwarrin, the beautiful game has it all.
“I play soccer for Ashburton United in Women’s State League 2. Above that is State 1 and then the National Premier League Victoria. I have quite a bit of pace and I like playing attack so I’m a forward. During the season, we have two training sessions each week then a game on Sunday. There are 10 teams in the league and we play each other twice.
“We’ve been up and down in the rankings for the past few years. COVID certainly didn’t do us any favours but this season, we’re currently incorporating a few new players into our team. We’re working on different formations as well as consolidating our skills. Our hope is to eventually be promoted into the next league.
“When it comes to soccer, I don’t have a fairytale origin story where I loved it from the first time I kicked the ball. The truth is that I had a habit of copying my brother who played soccer. I was pretty good but girls’ soccer wasn’t a big thing back then.
“I’ve had my fair share of injuries, mainly ankles and hamstrings. I’m struggling with a foot injury at the moment. My issue is that I’m so keen to get back onto the field that I don’t give myself enough time to heal properly.
“I don’t enjoy gym work so soccer is a big part of my fitness regime. Our training involves a thorough warm-up to minimise our risk of injuries, drills to work on particular skills or team plays, and then a mini-game to put all this into practice.
“Dentistry is very taxing mentally and physically so soccer gives me a chance to de-stress and blow off a bit of steam. I get to run around, work up a sweat and not think about teeth for a while. There’s also a great social aspect to the club. The hours we spend training, the hard-fought wins and the disappointing losses have created a lovely camaraderie.
“Events like the Premier League and the World Cup brings millions of people together from all around the world. I follow Manchester United but it’s a bit of a love-hate relationship. Soccer is a sport where things can change within a couple of minutes. You can play it anywhere if you’ve got a ball and a relatively flat area. Ashburton United has a Masters Women’s league and I intend to play there one day. It all depends on my body; it might fail before my passion dies!”