Van De Heuvel ready to become next Jess Duffin

NEW Geelong Cats draftee, Sophie Van De Heuvel is not only a promising footballer.

The 18 year-old is also handy with the bat in hand, representing Victoria in cricket this year. Playing under Jess Duffin at Williamstown, who plays in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) for the Melbourne Renegades, has inspired Van De Heuvel to continue to juggle both sports in 2019.

“She’s (Duffin) been incredible for me,” Van De Heuvel said. “I’ve learnt a lot from her especially being at cricket too so I’ve had a few discussions with her just about juggling both sports which has been amazing. “I’ll look to hopefully get a Big Bash contract but yeah, see how that goes.”

She is also honoured to have the chance at representing an elite club at the highest level of competition for both football and cricket. Van De Heuvel reflects on the current players juggling both sports at an elite level.

“I guess going to the pathway the same as Jess Duffin and Emma Kearney, it’s been really exciting.”

But above that, Van De Heuvel is ecstatic to be playing at the Cats in the 2019 AFL Women’s competition.

“It’s a massive honour to be drafted to Geelong,” she said. “I guess as a little girl, it’s a dream come true so yeah, such a surreal feeling and I can’t be happier. “I’m looking forward to being at Geelong, and starting their AFL journey so yeah, that’ll be really good.”

Van De Heuvel’s name was called out after Nina Morrison’s at the AFL Women’s Draft, and the Vic Country representative is excited about playing alongside Morrison in the blue and white hoops.

“Nina’s an awesome girl,” Van De Heuvel said. “She’s got a lot of potential so it’s really good to be drafted alongside her and can’t wait for her future.”

The Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels forward was also joined at Geelong by Rebels defender, Georgia Clarke. The pair have played together all year in the TAC Cup Girls competition and are both a part of the AFL Women’s Academy. Van De Heuvel is looking forward to continuing her football journey alongside Clarke.

“Georgia’s an amazing girl and amazing player so to be drafted with her and playing at the same club is an amazing feeling,” she said.

Van De Heuvel still lives in Ballarat at the moment, but is looking to make the move over to Geelong ahead of her berth in the AFL Women’s competition next year.

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