In the SEQ Futsal Star Spotlight series, we hear the stories of the players, coaches, referees and administrators who have dedicated their lives to futsal and are working together to grow the new SEQ Futsal Premier League.
Arana United’s Gabby Zgrajewski is one of the most highly-credentialled futsal players Queensland has produced.
Now giving back to the sport as a player and coach in the SEQ Futsal Premier League, the Puma F-League winner explains her rich history within futsal and her ongoing motivation for the game.
How did you get started in futsal?
I come from a big family and the youngest six had all been heavily involved in futsal from a young age. I started playing at about 10 years old after watching my brothers play. I started playing in a boys competition and progressed into the girls comp at 12 years old. Quite a few of my family had made an Australian futsal team so I always wanted to be like them. My family has always been my biggest inspiration and they have always encouraged me to be competitive and always give 100%.
You have previously represented Australia internationally. What are your standout achievements and memories from that time?
My greatest achievement would have been making the open women’s Australian team for the first time and travelling to Spain, Sweden and Holland, giving me the opportunity to learn from the best women in Australia. As for my favourite memory, that would be travelling to Belgium in 2004 with the Australian women’s team and winning the Cheetah Cup. It was the best team I have ever played with and such a great experience.
You were part of the Galaxy FC squad which won the Puma F-League Grand Final this year. How does that compare to your other best moments in futsal?
Every team I have played in is different and great in their own way. Winning competitions in any team is always a highlight and a reward for all the hard work and dedication put in. I’m so happy that the Galaxy women won the F-League this year. The girls worked so hard and put a lot of time and effort into making the team work. At my age I’m not sure how much longer I will be playing and that’s why I wanted to experience the F-League. It’s a fantastic competition for women.
You’ve experienced plenty of highs in futsal. What are you hoping to achieve with Arana United?
I’ve played with Arana United for a few years now in the men’s competition and I’m excited they entered a women’s team into the SEQ Futsal Premier League. I came into this competition to be competitive as a team and to enjoy playing. Hopefully I can spread some of my knowledge as a player with my women’s team and also as a coach to the younger girls. The 14 and 16 girls that I am coaching are wonderful girls and are really keen to learn which has made this job really easy.
The SEQ Futsal Premier League is a fantastic pathway for female players. Not only does the competition open these players to a competitive standard of futsal but it also opens up pathways to futsal academies, the (FFA) National Championships and the F-League. Arana United is also a feeder club to Galaxy and I’m sure plenty of our female players will be interested in exploring that pathway.
What is it about futsal that keeps you invested in the game?
What’s not to love about futsal?! I’ve always loved the fast pace and the skill involved. It has always kept me fit, helped me travel around the world and given me some of the best experiences that I never would have had the opportunity to explore.