As we celebrate Female Football Week, Football Queensland has launched the Women’s Football Champions initiative to shine a light on the unsung community heroes who have gone above and beyond for women and girls in our game.
Regardless of age, gender or location, the Women’s Football Champions are all recognised as doing great things to support, develop and deliver opportunities for women and girls within our state’s footballing family.
Each chosen individual is being profiled on Football Queensland’s website and social media channels, and will be invited to attend a special event in relation to the centenary season of women’s football in Queensland.
The second of our Women’s Football Champions is Debbie Caldwell from Bingera FC in Wide Bay.
The former Queensland state representative started out in a 6-a-side competition in Bundaberg, began playing in 11-a-side games alongside the legendary Connie Selby in 1980 and remains active as a player today, at age 52.
“I would love to play until I can’t play anymore,” Debbie said. “I’ve seen too many people retire and lose their fitness. I’m fit and healthy.
“I still consider myself an athlete – I’m only 50 kgs, I ride every day, I eat the right things and I’m very fit.
“At 52 I think I’m still 25 so I want to play for the next 20 years, body permitting. I don’t see myself losing the passion, that’s for sure.”
Debbie shares her enthusiasm and experience of playing and coaching at high levels with women and girls of all ages at Bingera, having worked with junior and senior teams alike for the past two decades.
“I’m always looking to talk to the young girls,” she said. “I have run a couple of days where it has been just for the girls, training sessions just for girls. I know sometimes that training with the boys can be a bit intimidating when you’re five, six, seven, eight, nine years old.
“I just want kids to have the same passion I have for the game.
Robyn Metcalf, Bingera’s secretary, nominated Debbie in recognition of her marvellous playing and coaching career, proactive attitude around the club and determination to provide inclusive opportunities for young girls.
“Apart from her playing resume Deb has been president of the club, vice president, senior registrar from 2013 to the present and merchandise coordinator,” Robyn said.
“Debbie does things that not a lot of people know about. At the beginning of the season, she will leave work early and go set up all the fields with all of the playing equipment, so that on our first training session we look a little bit professional and the players and coaches know exactly where to go.
“Last year, she organised two all-girl training sessions and this year for Female Football Week ran a combined junior and senior female training session.
“Debbie lives past our football fields and if she drives past [and sees the fields need work], she will bring out the whipper snipper. She picks up jobs that need doing and does them. And she doesn’t seek recognition.”
Visit the Female Football Week page to read more about how FQ is celebrating in 2021 and to see a list of upcoming events.