[Lead & Middle Images: David Wadsworth] [Bottom Image: Chris Simpson]
As one of the brightest young coaching prospects in Queensland, it’s hardly surprising Liz Doherty bleeds football.
Still only 21, Doherty is in the process of completing her FFA/AFC Senior ‘C’ Licence alongside active coaching commitments and an already-successful playing career in the PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues.
It’s fitting that her club, Brisbane Olympic, wears red given how deep the game runs in her veins.
“I’ve always been interested in having every aspect of football in my life,” Doherty said.
“I found (coaching) improved me as a player and I’ve always been drawn to it.
“It’s rewarding seeing improvement in players. Not just ability-wise, but seeing someone who might not be that interested in football all of a sudden find a passion because they’ve enjoyed coming to sessions.
“This season we have four of the senior women’s players at Olympic who are coaching.
“It’s really great for the younger players to have someone who isn’t just experienced and knowledgeable about football but can also be a role model off the pitch as well.”
Doherty combines twin roles at Olympic as Head Coach of both the Girls’ Skill Acquisition Program (SAP) and, for the third season running, the PS4 NPL Queensland U13 Girls team.
The Tamworth local – who also studies at the University of Queensland – acknowledges the difficulties of juggling multiple roles but says the challenges of adjusting to a new city, new career and greater responsibilities have only provided lessons for her to teach.
“I’m lucky that I’ve always enjoyed it. Hard work is never really that hard when you’re enjoying it,” she said.
“I’m from a rural town and I had to move to a boarding school (in Sydney) to keep playing at a higher level.
“It’s definitely difficult when you’re putting in the hard work and you feel like you’re not improving or you’re on the bench every week.
“You have to work hard through those stages where nothing seems to go right because eventually it will turn around.”
Doherty remains an integral member of Olympic’s PS4 NPL Queensland Women’s squad, notably helping her side to the 2016 Grand Final, but it’s as a coach where she’s beginning to flourish even further.
The former winner of Football Brisbane’s player of the year award is tipped for big things on the sideline, with her unique insights into guiding and developing young female players an essential asset to the game.
“You’ve got to put in a little bit of extra work (due to the smaller player pool) and be a little bit more aware of how to engage them,” she said.
“Once you get them engaged, and show them there really is a pathway and they’re going to get something out of it, they’re fantastic.
“Girls teams are definitely great to work with. In terms of commitment and passion they are equal to the boys.”
As far as potential is concerned, there are few who can match Liz Doherty’s future in football.