Emma Dundas has put her name on the footballing map as an up-and-coming star in 2023.
The 16-year-old has had a standout year, receiving her first call-up for the Junior Matildas and signing with the Newcastle Jets Women’s A-League side.
Dundas began her football journey at Barnsley United Football Club, signing up to be more like her brothers.
“I started in under-6s at Barnsley just playing community football. I got into it because of my older brothers, they were playing at the time and I wanted to be like them,” Dundas said.
“From there I went into the Emerging Jets when I was 10 and I’ve been there ever since. I have been playing with them and playing tournaments through Northern.”
The midfielder talent earned her a call-up to the Junior Matildas in Australia’s under-17s Women's National Team for the Asian Cup Round 2 Qualifiers.
“I got my first call-up just a few months ago for the Asian Cup qualifiers. I mean it was awesome and a pretty big shock. I wasn’t really expecting that to be honest, it was surreal,” Dundas said.
“I was so happy I think someone saw me and told me to stop smiling because I was cheering to put it on and to play in that kit. I was so happy.
“The camp environment was very professional and was definitely a step up compared to football back here. It was really eye-opening to see where everyone else was at and where I could be and really see myself with the best players in the country.”
Dundas' fine form picked up attention from the senior side of the Newcastle Jets, resulting in her signing a contract with the Women’s A-League side for the 2023/24 season.
“I mean it was always the dream but always seemed pretty far-fetched mostly,” Dundas said.
“When I found out I was happy, I couldn’t believe it. I always aspired to it but didn’t really think that I would get there.”
The surprises kept coming for Dudas after she was selected to start in the Newcastle Jets' first game of the season against the Central Coast Mariners.
“That was so unexpected, I can’t even describe how happy I was when I saw my name. It was pretty cool,” Dundas said.
“It was a derby, so it was crazy. It was really intense and there was a good atmosphere. It was just really fun to be a part of.
“It was really cool to finish the game and then go and see how many people were there supporting us. It was a really good turnout, especially being an away game.”
Off the field, the West Wallsend High School student juggles the challenges of Year 10 with her football career.
“Sometimes it’s tricky but my teachers at school are very supportive and are really happy for what I am doing. They are very encouraging with it all and help me out when I miss a few days here and there,” Dundas said.
“Sometimes I choose training over school homework. I probably could do a bit more schoolwork than I could be doing but I work out how to manage it as the season goes on.”
Dundas’ role models are still her older brothers who play for Weston Bears FC.
“I think I still probably look up to my older brothers to be honest. They have always been into football, they have always inspired me and always helped me to get to where I am because it was always so competitive between us and I always wanted to be like them,” Dundas said.
Dundas is hoping she can keep the positive momentum of her football career going, with big aspirations for her future.
“There will be some Junior Matildas camps coming up so I hope that I can keep my selection in them and then the Asian Cup will be next year in April. I am just hoping that I can keep performing and keep my spot there,” Dundas said.
“Long term, I definitely want to cement a spot in the A-League and one day hopefully play for the Matildas.”
The Newcastle Jets A-League Women and A-League Men teams will take on Western Sydney Wanderers in a double-header on Sunday at McDonald Jones Stadium. The men kick off at 5pm followed by the women at 7:45pm.
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