‘Greek passion is part of my football,’ says young Matilda Sofia Sakalis

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Being born into a Greek family, it would be difficult not to have some form of contact with the world of football. Such was the case for the young Sofia Sakalis, whose father is from the West Macedonian city of Kozani, while her grandfather from her mother’s side hails from Halkidiki.

From early on, she began to play with her dad and her relationship with the round goddess only got stronger from there. “I would always wake up early with my dad to watch the soccer games,” Sakalis tells The Greek Herald.

She points out that the Greek mentality has always been a part of her personal style of play: “I’ve had that passion instilled in me from a very young age and during the games I always want to win. I think that does kind of trace back to my Greek roots. It’s something I’ve always had with me and I hope to continue like that on my footballing journey.”

Playing at South Melbourne, Sakalis fully comprehends the Greek mentality of football. Source: By The White Line

The aspiring midfielder was transferred to Perth Glory a few weeks ago and as she says, she’s making her final preparations before leaving Melbourne behind her. But what are her thoughts as she gets ready for her first season away from home?

“I haven’t moved there yet; I’m required to be there in October for our pre-season. Right now, I’m preparing and training hard to make sure I’m fit. This is a new opportunity for me, I think it’s a new chapter in my footballing journey that will enable me to become the player I want to be. I’m really looking forward to it!” she says excitedly.

The current trend in women’s football that has seen many Australian players joining high profile European clubs gives young players like Sakalis the chance to look even further ahead and aspire for greatness.

When asked about this, the talented player stressed the importance of the rapid evolution of the women’s game and shared her own personal goal for her career.

“It’s been amazing seeing all the Matildas slowly move overseas and more particular to Europe because that’s just the place you want to be to be right now. It’s improving a lot, so definitely one of my personal long-term goals is to play in Europe.

I think, if I had to choose, to play for a club like Manchester City or Arsenal in the English Premier League would be a dream come true. But, even anywhere in Europe like Spain, Italy, even Greece would be an amazing experience to start off with.”

Sofia is looking at the next chapter in her career at Perth Glory. Source: By The White Line

At the same time as her dreams in football, Sofia is also going after an entirely different goal: a bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy. A field which, as she says, brings together her two great loves for football and medicine.

“From a very young age, my parents have always instilled in me the importance of maintaining a balance between sport and getting an education. So, even though I really want to go far in soccer, I’ve always known that I need to keep up my studies and I really want to do well so that, when I complete my football career, I have something to fall back on.

“Physiotherapy’s something that kind of intertwines my passions because it’s so relevant to football in the aspect of the physical health of the athletes and the human body so I’m really enjoying it so far.”

Sakalis, who says her dream is to one day play in the Olympics, points out how proud she is of her Greek heritage, while expressing her deep gratitude for all those who support her in her career: “I’ve been to Greece four times and I love how I’m able to communicate with the locals when I’m there! I want to thank the Greek community all over Australia for all their support and for following my football journey over the years. I’m truly grateful and their support never goes unnoticed and whenever I play, I also play for the Greek community and I hope to make them proud.”

Next season will see her play in the W-League with the colours of Perth Glory, yet at only 19 years of age, the journey of this aspiring Greek Aussie in the world of football is far from over! Definitely one worth keeping an eye on!

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