News "HFCA provides a great opportunity for girls to get involved in football''

July 1, 2021

When 18 year old star Zoe Konstantopoulos from Melbourne played her first match at the recent HFCA fundraiser Collingwood Rotary Fair Play 17 it was obvious to all in attendance she was a natural talent at the game.

Zoe was representing her school Ivanhoe Grammar and led by example with her excellent first touch and passing range. Fair Play is a mixed tournament but Zoe more than held her own against bigger and stronger players.

It was a great honour to represent Ivanhoe Grammar and play alongside many different community clubs in Melbourne; ultimately what was most rewarding was raising awareness and playing for HFCA. I believe having mixed teams for the Fair Play Tournament provides a great opportunity to allow individuals to play based on their ability rather than gender. Besides playing with our Ivanhoe team, playing with other community clubs was an awesome way to get to know and meet new people, but most importantly, sharing the passion we have for the game was what allowed us to come together

- Zoe enjoyed the challenge
Ivanhoe Grammar star Zoe shows her skills against the Fitzroy Lions team at Fair Play 17. Image Dean Phipps

Zoe is a year 12 student at Melbourne's Ivanhoe Grammar School which was founded in 1915. Ivanhoe’s success is derived from its capacity to adapt to changing circumstances and educational priorities while retaining the core values that have always been at the heart of the School’s philosophy, in particular service to the community. Its membership of the International Round Square Association of Schools has provided an outstanding platform for Ivanhoe to deepen its international mindset and increase opportunities for its students to prepare for life and work in a more global environment.

Ivanhoe Grammar School football star Zoe (centre in brown jersey number 8) with her team mates at Fair Play 17. Image Dean Phipps

It's that commitment to service to the community that makes Ivanhoe a natural partner for HFCA and since 2008 we have worked together to benefit communities in Cambodia and Melbourne. Over the years as our partnership developed and long standing friendships were formed, the annual visit to Cambodia by a cohort of Ivanhoe students only strengthened those bonds. Our HFCA football players always love playing football with the girls and boys from Ivanhoe Grammar school.

Zoe (Standing, back row 2nd from left) in Phnom Penh in 2019 with her Ivanhoe Grammar friends and HFCA Girls team. Image P Grogan.

Zoe visited HFCA in 2019 with her school Ivanhoe Grammar, "''It was amazing, definitely eye opening, something I would want to do again. With regards to HFCA, over there in Cambodia, I think it's great to get the girls involved in sports and I know there is a bit of misalignment to girls sports to boys and I think that HFCA provides a great opportunity for girls to get involved in football.''

Zoe (2nd from left in blue jersey) with female HFCA players in 2019. Image Supplied.

Zoe is passionate about women's equal access to sports but believes there is room for improvement ''The coverage for women’s sport has definitely improved in recent years, however there is still more that can be done. I find that coverage of women’s sport is still dominated by typical societal stereotypes and would like to see in the coming years a greater appreciation and celebration of women’s sport based on the skill, resilience, confidence, and teamwork of its players. More importantly, by having a positive media profile of women’s sport and in particular football, this would in turn encourage younger girls to get involved and fall in love with the game''

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