“She will be the future of Australian football, mark my words.”
That is the view shared by former Matildas and A-Leagues player Grace Gill, who isn’t the only one excited about Australia’s next bright talent.
That talent happens to be 17-year-old Daniela Galic.
Snapped up by Melbourne City last year, the Sydney-born teenager has attracted the spotlight for her skilful and technically gifted presence in the attacking third.
Whilst not placing too much pressure on a player so raw remains paramount, there are certain scenarios when an obvious ability becomes too difficult to ignore.
Currently in her second season in Australia’s top domestic competition and gaining valuable experience with the Young Matildas, the sky is the limit for one of Australia’s most promising prospects.
In an exclusive interview with The Inner Sanctum, Galic rewound the clock back to her childhood days when she first felt an instant connection to football.
“My parents used to play football so I would go watch them on the weekends while kicking the ball around in the park and that’s when the passion started to form,” Galic told The Inner Sanctum.
“Since I was three years old I’ve grown up with the game all my life and I’ve been surrounded by a Croatian family, so football has always been in my blood.”
No matter how talentedly gifted a footballer is, not only is the mental side fundamental, but the adequate foundations for development need to be present to allow for the next stage of growth.
Luckily for Galic, she was blessed to have had the opportunity to blossom with Football New South Wales Institute (FNSWI), known for occupying some of the state’s best talents.
“The coaches I had at FNSWI were great and even the players I was training with day in and day out were all of high quality,” she said.
“That definitely helped me develop my game which continued as the team started to build a strong connection with each other, so I really enjoyed my time there.”
Football is a game made up of split-second decisions on the pitch, resulting in either a moment of brilliance or a costly mistake.
Off the pitch, the essence of time seems like an eternity for a player deciding on their next career move. In saying that, the younger the player, the bigger the dilemma becomes due to the importance of developing and maturing.
The decision to join Melbourne City could not have been easier for Galic, who explained her thought process behind the move and how she has settled into the club.
“It’s the most professional club, they said all the right things to convince me to sign, so it wasn’t a hard decision,” she said.
“Last season in Melbourne was very positive for me, I didn’t have to think twice about staying which I look back on now and think about how happy I am for making the right choice.
“We showed last season as a team that there’s so much great potential, but there’s still more to build on so I’m excited to continue my journey at City.”
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget how young and vulnerable athletes are when they become exposed to the public eye and are touted to become future superstars. That feeling remains unimaginable for most.
Arriving at a club with four championships in its short history along with strong financial backing and top-class facilities, pressure is attached more than ever.
Although expectations are set at a high standard at Melbourne City, Galic doesn’t invest her time in the background noise which is nothing more than admirable.
“I don’t like to read into all the talk about me too much because I know it’s important to focus on myself and my own game,” she said.
“My parents have helped me stay grounded and always remind me to be myself just as I am at home and always tell me that I’m a normal person like everyone else at the end of the day.
“At times it’s good for me to get away from the football side and spend time with family because that means a lot to me.”
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A cruel penalty shootout defeat at the hands of city rivals Melbourne Victory in the elimination final back in April ended a campaign filled with exponential promise.
Off the back of a full preseason to recharge with the squad, coach Dario Vidosic should feel optimistic about how the team is gelling together according to Galic.
“I think we performed well last season and now we’ve brought in some strong additions including some experienced internationals,” she said.
“We’ve used the offseason to understand each other’s game and learn new tactics for matchday. Although it wasn’t a long preseason we learned a lot and we have a lot to show this season.”
They say representing your country is the biggest honour. For any current or aspiring athlete, it’s a dream to sing the national anthem and wear the respective badge on the pitch with pride.
A sense of gratification and fulfilment is attached to wearing the coveted number 10 shirt for the Young Matildas; a responsibility that Galic thrives upon.
During the U20 FIFA World Cup last year, the former FNSWI product claimed player of the match in Australia’s opener against Costa Rica despite her tender age of 16.
Maturing well above her years, Galic spoke about her experience with the national team.
“That tournament I played in last year has definitely made me hungry for more and pushed me to one day play at a senior World Cup. I took many positives out of it and it will allow me to grow as a player,” she said.
“That experience was incredible and it’s something that I will remember forever because that was my first taste of being in a professional environment as I hadn’t signed my first contract yet in the A-Leagues.”
For those who were previously unaware of the name Daniela Galic, the Melbourne City star described her biggest strengths and assets when the ball is at her feet.
“I like to think I’m a creative player who can distribute the ball effectively and loves to dribble and take on defenders,” she said.
“Playing in the attacking third, I try to make the most of my chances in front of goal which is always my aim to help score and assist.”
From kicking a ball around in the park at a young age to now having the world at her feet, it’s fair to say that the past few years have been one heck of a journey.
“For this season it’s all about getting involved in matches as much as possible and putting my best forward to help contribute to the team with goals and assists,” Galic said.
“In terms of the long-term, my goal is to move to a club overseas, but I’m in no rush, I’ll allow myself time to be ready for that next step in my career.”