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Sophie Li

Career : AFLW 2018 -
Debut : Round 1 2018 vs Collingwood
Carlton Player No. 34
Games : 7 *
Goals : 0 *
Guernsey 35
Height : 155 cm
Weight : TBA

SOPHIE Li was selected by Carlton with pick 28 in the 2017 AFL Women’s draft. Touted as a natural athlete with strength and speed, Adelaide-born Li will add depth to Carlton’s midfield. After an exceptional season with Norwood in the women’s SANFL competition, it was no surprise she came runner-up in its inaugural best and fairest award. “Sophie is a prolific ball winner and will be an asset to our midfield,” women’s senior coach Damien Keeping said. “Not only can she run all day through the middle, but she can also make an impact up forward – she knows how to put herself in dangerous positions.” “Sophie’s a 29-year-old paramedic from South Australia who is an elite distributor of the footy. We’re so pleased. “

Li made her name playing as a midfielder and across half-forward.

Li was recruited from Adelaide University / Norwood FC.

Li at home on Royal Parade
Sophie Li's nephews may have been born into a household of Adelaide fans, but the South Australian is working hard to convert their allegiance. Li, 29, moved in with her sister's Melbourne-based family after Carlton selected her with its 28th pick at the 2017 NAB AFL Women's Draft. The family tie made the interstate move easier – she followed the path of her hero Patrick Dangerfield, who shifted from Adelaide to Geelong citing a desire to be closer to family – but the club, and coach Damien Keeping, had laid a runway for the seamless transition. "The December storms were a bit of a shock – I was cold for days," Li said jokingly as she reflected on her first few months in Melbourne. "But I have figured out the trams and the girls are introducing me to all the best coffee spots – I almost feel like a local. "As soon as you step into this place Carlton, you feel that sense of belonging to something with a united front. "It's my first experience of elite football and it's a new level of intensity – but I believe the challenge will make me better. It helps that the culture and expectations have already been established. "I wanted to be part of what the girls created last year and I was attracted by the way Damien goes about things. "For him it's about more than just football – it's about relationships and unity." As a trained paramedic, teamwork has played an integral part in Li's career to date. But the former basketballer, cricketer and Gaelic footballer only picked up a Sherrin competitively three years ago, playing for Norwood and Adelaide University. "The job prepares you to stay calm under pressure no matter what the situation. It helps you to stay clear-headed and make key decisions – that helps with my footy," Li said. "It's great to train alongside some of the players I looked up to last year. "But also, they are just good people – I learn so much from them both on and off the field. "There is always respect, kindness and generosity – they are role models in every sense." Li will wear the No.35 jumper in 2018 – a nod to Dangerfield. In fact, she models her game on him, too. The versatile 165cm midfielder plays with explosive pace, balance and composure. Like Dangerfield, Li is acutely aware of her larger responsibility and the part she has to play in Carlton's whole-club philosophy. "The beauty of AFLW is that it's a movement – it's breaking gender stereotypes and breaking glass ceilings for women in so many ways – to be part of that is incredible," she said. "There is a huge sense of gratitude among the girls, because we know what it's like to not have access to elite football "It is our responsibility to cultivate that humility in future generations, so people don't forget where it all began." - Tom Pountney for