My journey to football started when I was born.

I was born into a Carlton-loving family, which doesn’t fair very well for me right now given I’m playing at the Pies.

We used to catch the train into the MCG and go past Victoria Park, having to hold our breath because we weren’t able to breathe in the air through Collingwood!

Growing up I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in terms of a job.

I knew I was interested in sport. But I did not know what profession would best suit me.

I wasn’t the best student! I was a little bit cheeky and I got into a little trouble.

Steph Chiocci exclusive insight balla

So I think going down the path of teaching definitely surprised a few people. But I did an AFL SportsReady traineeship following Year 12 and that gave me the insight into what it would be like in to work in a school environment and I absolutely loved it.

I never expected to be a captain of an AFLW club.

I do pride myself on being a leader. I love helping others and very honoured and humbled to be voted in by my peers.

We have a fantastic group of girls at the Collingwood Football Club and a fantastic group of leaders around me who support me and support one another.

Steph Chiocci exclusive insight aflw collingwood

So as far as I’m concerned there are 16 leaders on the field and we’re all there to achieve the one goal.  

It has been really challenging balancing work commitments and football commitments.

Obviously we’re “after hours” athletes with our training so a typical day for me would be getting up at 6am to come and coach here at our high school.

Teach all day, and then catch the train and to training before finishing up at 10.

So essentially not getting home until  11pm.

It can be challenging finding time to get the right food, get your hydration in, and obviously sleep because we know that sleep is very important.