The unheralded female stars of our game

On International Women’s Day, some of the A-League and W-League’s unheralded stars reveal why they love working in football.

Adelaide United: Eleni Vosnakis

W-League Strength and Conditioning Coach


“I love coming to work every day. I think I have a real chance to make a difference in the women’s game. I grew up playing football in Adelaide and never really had female role models to look up to. In all my years playing I only ever had one female coach. I always aim to show the players that they are our first priority and are always at the forefront of my attention. Just last night a player messaged me to pass on their gratitude for putting in effort with their gym conditioning.”

Brisbane Roar: Rizka Laya

Operations & Events Manager

“The key to making this role successful is building strong communication links and an excellent rapport with such a broad range of people. I love connecting with so many different people and organisations including local football clubs throughout this city, and in other states. It’s quite a lot of responsibility and you have to be highly organised, and also know how to delegate. I’ve been with the club for almost eight years – the biggest highlight was seeing Roar win both the Premier’s Plate and the Championship in 2014.

Canberra United: Sarah Kelly

Head physiotherapist

“There’s a bunch of official parts to being a physio – doing the screening for pre-season, giving treatment, diagnosing injuries, and helping players on their rehab programmes. But there’s also the unofficial bit; it’s almost part physio, part psychologist. Especially on away trips there’s a lot of time on your hands. But that’s what I love about it, being involved in a team environment, everyone working towards a common goal, and getting really close with people over the three years I’ve worked with the first team.”

Central Coast: Carly Carmichael

Marketing & Communications Manager

Carly Carmichael


“When you do this job, you know all the things that go into it, and how hard everyone works. But I didn’t really get a sense of the scale of it until I went to my first game just as a fan, when I was on maternity leave. My son was only a couple of months old and it was an amazing experience to see and feel the end product as a whole. I also love the variety of it, whether it’s producing Mariners TV, managing the E-League team or fulfilling orders for the merchandise shop.”

Macarthur Bulls FC: Maddy Marsh

Game Day Volunteer


“I was a Wanderers member from day one but a woman I play football with works for Macarthur and asked if I’d help out as I live locally and I love football. I started three weeks before the season and it’s been incredible to see what goes on behind the scenes: I could be helping on the merchandise van, testing microphones or managing the ball boys. The people you meet, and the football conversations you have, are inspiring, to the point where I’m torn between the Wanderers and Macarthur now.”

Melbourne City: Steph Pasley-Tyler

Events Operations Manager

“I love the variety of this role, the fact no two days are the same. Whether it’s the A-League and W-League games, or a fan engagement event, you have to make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time. There are the less glamorous parts too, like digging around in a store room inside AAMI Park, but it’s the people who make it. When we put on a Volunteers Match at AAMI Park, you realise the work they do for us, and all for the love of football.”

Melbourne Victory: Vittoria Anzelmi

Brand and Digital Designer

“The look and feel of the club is my responsibility, whether it’s ticketing or suite fit-outs, it’s a very creative role. The people involved, and the networking, are amazing. The funny thing is that growing up, my friends would watch sport on a Friday night and I couldn’t think of anything worse – now I can’t think of anything else. When you learn about the work we do in the community space, about the messages such as gender equality and the empowerment of women, it’s way more than just a sports club.”

Newcastle Jets: Cassidy Davis

Community Liaison Officer (and co-captain)


“For three days a week I work for the Jets in the community, engaging with the fans, taking players to school visits, organising holiday clinics and events for sponsors. As a player myself as well, I feel like it’s a unique role, to see both sides of the club and be able to give back to the community. I’m studying to be a primary school teacher so it’s the perfect mix for me in that regard, and seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids is easily the best bit.”

Perth Glory: Elisa D’Ovidio

W-League Team Manager, Events Manager, Membership Manager


“Having played for Glory from the beginning (until 2015), I love the club and I’m so passionate about it still. Until last year I was events operations manager but after COVID hit us quite badly, I took on the role of W-League team manager – as an ex-player, I think I knew what the players all needed so it was quite easy for me. Then in January I became GM of membership and events, and I’m learning things every day. As a player you just rock up and put your boots on, but now I see all the work that happens in the background to make a club function.”

Sydney FC: Hannah Lidster

GM, Consumer Business and Community


“Anything that involves a fan or a member interacting with our club comes into my remit. The biggest challenge is making sure that every part their engagement with the club pays into making them even more deeply involved with us. After five years with the club, every day is different. But overseeing a whole department, I know that the work we’re doing now – especially while we’re displaced from our stadium - will pay off in five or 10 years time with a deeper and broader fan base.”

Wellington Phoenix: Kylie-Marie Smith

Events Manager

“It’s been a crazy couple of months since I joined Wellington on January 2 – initially as event manager (for Wellington’s games played in Wollongong), but now I’ve taken on the ticketing and corporate elements too. I worked for Western Sydney Wanderers from 2012, took a year off, and helped FFA with the finals last year. But this is a unique situation, working with a team that’s based away from its home and with people who are displaced from each other much of the time. The way everyone comes together for the one goal is something I love.”

Western Sydney Wanderers: Jessica Csaszar

Media and Digital Marketing Coordinator


“I’m not sure anything will beat my first day with the club – I was interning on the day of the home leg of the 2014 Asian Champions League final and we’ve had some amazing moments since, like that A-League Semi Final in 2016 when Romeo Castelen got a hattrick as well as our first Sydney Derby win back at Wanderland. I coordinate the clubs digital network including all social media as well as media enquiries, I love creating content and working with our players to help build connections between our teams and our members and fans.”

Western United: Lisa Pacher

Office manager, EA to CEO

Lisa Pacher


“I was one of the very first employees when the club was set up, and in the beginning we didn’t even have a pen to our name. I had to set up the whole office at high speed – the IT, the furniture, the signage and of course the pens – and kind of was the go-to person for everyone until they found their feet. I remember on day one being in an empty office, and a year later we had an all-staff meeting and literally couldn’t fit everyone in. This club is like a family, you never feel alone.”