From Denton To Australia
Soccer Alum Kelsey Hodges Will Play Professional Soccer In Australia
DENTON – Former Mean Green soccer standout Kelsey Hodges is headed to Australia for her next adventure. The professional soccer player signed a four-month contract with Alamein FC, a soccer club based in Melbourne, Australia.
Hodges, who played with North Texas from 2010-13, had been looking for her next playing opportunity after returning from a season playing in Sweden. The Alamein FC head coach saw Hodges’ highlight film on an on-line recruiting site, and he contacted the Denton, Texas, native through Facebook.
Hodges will be playing in the National Premier League for Women, which is the second division in Australia. It’s a new league, and Hodges is excited about the opportunities there to play at a higher level.
Hodges is leaving Sunday, June 5 and will arrive in Melbourne after 20-plus hours of air travel. She will be living with a host family in Melbourne, which is south of Sydney.
MeanGreenSports.com caught up with Hodges before she left to hear more about her latest adventure.
What was exciting to you about this opportunity?
Kelsey: This opportunity is exciting for many reasons. One, I have never been to Australia. It has always been a place I’ve wanted to visit. Second, this league is new in Australia and can open up more doors to other opportunities at the highest level in Australia and around the world. Also, after speaking with Sinisa (Cohadzic), the head coach, and Anthony, the CEO of Alamein FC, I felt very comfortable saying yes to the contract. They are very nice and have already provided me with everything I will need while I am in Australia. Lastly, I am excited for this opportunity because I still get to play the sport that I love and travel across the world to a new place and experience new things!
How does the level of play compare to Sweden?
Kelsey: This is a higher-level league than what I played in Sweden. I am looking forward to the competition ahead and getting yet another experience in a new soccer atmosphere.
How long is your flight?
Kelsey: I fly out Sunday night on Quantas Airline, the big double decker airbus. I will fly straight into Sydney, taking about 16 hours to get there, then I will hop on my connecting flight to Melbourne and arrive there Tuesday morning. It takes a full 20 hours to arrive in Australia and the time change is roughly 15 hours ahead of us here in Texas, so I will be doing a little bit of time traveling.
Are you nervous? Excited?
Kelsey: I am feeling a little bit of both nerves and excitement. The nerves stem from traveling so far away from home and going to a place that I have never been before, but I have only heard great things about Australia and so far the people there seem great! I am definitely excited; who wouldn’t be excited about getting to see a different side of the world! I am excited to learn new things: the Aussie slang, the culture, about the real Outback environment and getting to see things I’ve never seen before. Also, getting to try new foods and drinks is always fun and something I really enjoyed while I was in Sweden.
What are you hoping to accomplish/achieve in Australia?
Kelsey: In this next adventure of mine, I look forward to possibly learning a new style of the game; with every new coach you learn something new about the game of soccer and also about yourself as a player. I also want to play to the best of my ability and help my new team accomplish its goals of winning the league and making the playoff series. This opportunity with Alamein FC gives me connections to the highest league in Australia, so I hope to do well enough with Alamein to receive a trial or look from a few teams in the W-League (highest professional level in Australia).
What sightseeing do you want to do?
Kelsey: I unfortunately do not know much about Australia yet, but I luckily have had a hand-full of close friends and family who have given some good insight. I hope to spend some time in Sydney and get to see the famous Sydney Opera House and the other historic landmarks. I’ve been told Brisbane is a beautiful place to visit. Also, the island of Tasmania will be on my list to see if I get a chance. I will, of course, be going to as many beaches as possible to soak up all the sun and maybe to learn to surf some too.
From Denton To Sweden: Part 1
From Denton to Sweden: Part 2