By Takis Triadafillou.
18-year-old Greek Australian football star, Emali Goulas has received an athletic scholarship for the University of Oklahoma to study Business in the Department of Sciences and Arts for three years. The Alamein FC player will also participate in the women’s team of the University in the coming year.
Emali was born on December 28, 2004 in Melbourne, Victoria. She lives in Camberwell with her father Jim, mother Roula, and her 17-year-old sister Anna. She attended Primary School at Camberwell South Primary School, and High School at Siena College.
Emali’s parents were born in Australia, with Greek roots tied to Kalamata, Lesvos, Thessaloniki and Karditsa. Her grandparents migrated to Australia in the early 1960s, like all Greeks of that immigrant era.
Recently, Emali was interviewed by The Greek Herald, sharing all of her successes so far and how she first came to love the sport.
How did you first get into football?
I started playing football at the age of seven with a local team, Ashburton United. In 2015, I competed in the NPL National Championship. I also competed in a Gothia Cup tournament. Now I play in the NPLW A team for Alamein FC.
I was attracted to football and the way a team develops in the sport, it’s based on talent, intelligence and proper guidance from the coach. Even though my parents play tennis, football won me over.
Emali, in which position do you play and how many goals have you scored?
I play the midfielder position, number 88, and I have scored quite a few goals.
What is your ultimate dream with the sport?
My dream since I was young has been to play abroad, and now I have the opportunity to study while representing the University with its team. My dream is coming true.
Would you like to play as part of a team in Greece in the future?
I would like to play for Olympiacos and of course, represent Australia at a national level.
I believe you have visited Greece [before]?
Yes, I have been to quite a few places [in Greece] including the areas where my grandparents come from – Kalamata, Thessaloniki, Lesvos and Karditsa, all great places. They all have an amazing legacy.
How good is your Greek?
I attended Greek lessons at school and of course, I had the best teachers in my grandparents from both sides. I have always been fascinated by Greece, with its cultural history, with its natural beauties and of course, I am fascinated by my parents’ cultural roots.
To what extent did you have support [to pursue soccer] from your family?
My family supports me in all my endeavours. They have strengthened my self-belief with everything I try. I believe that family support can also help an athlete to maintain a balanced diet and provide the necessary support for the development of their skills.
How will you continue to help your team here until you have to go and commit to studies?
I will try to improve as much as possible as a player before leaving. I am assistant technical director for the club’s youth teams, alongside coaching and helping develop other young football talents.