From taking up football at age nine to becoming a Westfield W-League regular within eight years, Kaitlyn Torpey’s whirlwind ascent to the top tier of women’s football in Australia has been truly remarkable.
In 2014, fewer than five years after switching from hockey, the Brisbane local earned selection into the coveted BRFC/QAS National Training Centre (NTC) program. Then, in 2016, she was named as part of the All-Star Team at her third NTC Challenge. Incredibly, still aged 16, Torpey lived the dreams of many by debuting alongside a host of championship-winning Westfield Matildas for Brisbane Roar’s senior side.
The latest step has been the biggest challenge yet for the talented teenager.
“Playing at the next level is a whole different environment,” Torpey explained.
“Coming into it I was petrified of not only the players but how I needed to perform.
“It was so much harder both mentally and physically. Being around much older and more experienced players was very different then what I was used to.
“I learnt very quickly that I needed to become more confident in myself.”
Torpey quickly established her credentials as a top-flight player despite her young years, completing 90 minutes in Roar’s opening-round win over Sydney FC.
The newcomer strung together an even more impressive second half of the season as she started each of Brisbane’s last seven matches.
Once the apprehension wore off, the opportunity to learn from up to five current internationals proved invaluable.
“Playing alongside the more experienced players and especially the Matildas was an incredible experience in itself,” Torpey said.
“They took me under their wing the minute I got there and made everything so much easier.
“These players helped me not only get comfortable but they encouraged me to keep learning and they were teaching me. The whole team helped me adjust to the big step up.”
While the support of her teammates helped ease the transition, Torpey credits her mentor of four years and current Brisbane Roar Women’s coach, Mel Andreatta, as a “standout” influence in her fledgling career.
It’s developing under the guidance of an “idol” such as Andreatta which makes Torpey an ideal source of advice for fellow rising stars.
“Be confident in yourself and work hard,” the talented teenager advised.
“Each and every day you should be pushing yourself to be the best player you can be.
“Pick a player in the Australian team or your idol and look at where you want to be and aim for that.
“Also remember that one of the most important things in football is your attitude on and off the field.”
Still a few days shy of her 17th birthday, the versatile future star has already been involved in the Young Matildas setup. Her long-term goal is to become a fully-fledged senior international for Australia.
Recent history suggests that might just happen sooner than expected.