[Images: Paul Smith/SWQ Thunder]
For many, 17 years working in football administration would seem like daunting prospect yet Janelle Sothmann can’t imagine working anywhere else.
Joining South West Queensland Football as a volunteer Zone Secretary, Sothmann has embraced the role that has allowed her to watch football in the South West corner grow and flourish.
“I got involved with football when my son was 12 going into Zone rep team,” said Sothmann.
“I had the then Zone secretary who was going to become Zone president say ‘I need a secretary, that’s a good job for you Janelle’ so Janelle said yes – silly me.
“Back then it was just a volunteer position that was only 12 hours if that and then I moved into the Zone administration role,” she explained.
While providing so many great memories and experiences that she will never forget, Sothmann’s tenure has allowed a front row seat to the growth of opportunities for females in the game.
“Opportunities are definitely growing.
“I think it’s great that a lot more females are not only playing but also getting involved in administration, coaching and refereeing.
“When I started resources were limited for women and you had to play with the boys so it’s great to see some many initiatives being taken up like Female Football Week and teams being created to give girls the opportunity to pursue their dreams,” she added.
Sothmann’s commitment to football was recognised in 2015 when she was awarded Life Membership in SWQ Football for her long contribution in both volunteer and professional capacities.
“I like to help out with football in my own personal time and provide support to clubs outside of my work hours.
“I think I’ve stayed in football for so long because I can see how important it is to keep kids active and keep kids in the game.
“You meet so many people and make friends but you’re also giving back to the community and keeping kids in the game and that keeps you going,” she concluded.