Teenage defender Jessika Nash joins an already powerful Sydney FC for the 2021-22 W-League season. (Photo: Canberra United)

Sydney FC defender Jessika Nash wants to be a Matilda. Before that though, she has to graduate her HSC and finish her exams.

Teenage Sydney FC defender Jessika Nash has already achieved so much in her short W-League career.

She made a name for herself in her first season at the level playing for Canberra United, already one of the brightest defenders in the league. Nash started in every game, including the semi-final, and was named in ESPN’s team of the year.

At the Canberra United awards night, she took home the UC Rising Star award. Some would tell you to drop the ‘rising’ entirely.

The Junior Matildas captain looks set to break straight into a strong Sydney defensive line-up which includes the likes of Charlotte McLean, Ally Green, and Natalie Tobin.

Her next goal on the list, however, isn’t football related at all. She’s got her sights set on completing her HSC exams and graduating from The Hills Sports High School.

Speaking to The Inner Sanctum, it’s one of the challenges Nash faces as a high schooler by day, footballer by night. It was a factor that informed the switch from green to sky blue.

“Staying close to home was definitely a factor in my decision when it came to signing with Sydney FC,” Nash said.

“My HSC next year is an important aspect to me, and completing it at The Hills Sports High School with the teachers that supported me in my journey was crucial in my decision making.

“When I moved around to Canberra, I still had my family around me that helped support me emotionally through my busy training schedule and challenges like school.”

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With the W-League season set to run from November 13, 2021 through to April 3, 2022, there’s sure to be crossover between schoolwork and football commitments for Nash once again.

The qualities that make her a young leader on the pitch also help her to stay focused off it.

She’s a big believer in strong discipline, as well as sticking to a well thought-out and planned schedule. It kept her on track in her previous season, away from home.

“I felt as though I managed my school and sporting commitments quite well [last year],” Nash said.

“I set a schedule and timed my schedule effectively, and use it to the best of my ability.

“I feel as though I’m quite disciplined, on and off the pitch. Any goals I set, I find myself achieving them because of that schedule.

“[Discipline and leadership] sort of come naturally to me. My mum says all the time that I don’t really notice that it’s there, it just takes over me!”

Being away from home for a long period of time has become something Nash has come to enjoy.

At such a young age, packing up shop and heading to a new city was an adventure she embraced. She has already travelled across Asia and the Pacific with the Young Matildas, after all.

Alongside her the whole time has been her beloved family. Her mum, grandfather, and brother all provided her the support she needed across football, school, and life.

She says that her mum is one of her biggest idols in life, hoping to follow in her footsteps off the pitch.

“I love the idea of becoming a teacher like my mum,” Nash said.

“I look up to her and I love the way she works with kids. That’s a dream off the field I’d like to pursue. I went to the same primary school that she taught at. In year five or six she taught me. I found it quite fun!”

Settling in to Sydney

Joining Nash at Sydney FC will be another familiar face from Canberra United, with young Football Ferns forward Paige Satchell also making the switch.

Satchell made 11 appearances and scored a goal for United last year, also her first at W-League level.

She’ll also be playing alongside fellow teenage talent Sarah Hunter and former Young Matilda Remy Siemsen in her new outfit.

Siemsen playing for Sydney FC. (Photo: Sydney FC)

It doesn’t bother Nash being one of the youngest in the team. She’s confident that she can fit in and make her mark on Sydney in due time.

“Paige is great. We got on really great in Canberra, and she’s a solid player with some serious speed,” Nash said.

“I’m really looking forward to training and playing alongside her again this season.

“It helps [having other young girls in the team], but to me age has no limit or boundaries. I feel like I’m really returning home to Sydney with these girls, and I feel they’re going to be really accepting and welcome me with open arms.

“I love the whole professionalism surrounding Sydney FC, I can’t wait to be a part of it. I think that’s an environment where I’ll thrive.”

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