INTERVIEW – That’s a big bonus: Helena Fotopoulos

Box Hill United U/19 girls’ captain Helena Fotopoulos has drawn attention to the team’s camaraderie, which she feels would push her colleagues to end the season with a flourish.


Our U/19s reside mid-table with six games left in the 2019 season, and the side are enjoying the fourth highest goal-scoring streak of the ten teams in the competition.


Pleased with how her teammates have gone from strength to strength, Fotopoulos said, “The season is going well. We have got a good spot [on the ladder], and we just need to keep up our work.


“[Head coach] Stefanos has pushed us with our season. Every match he says, ‘This match is a grand final’, which pushes us more to play better. The girls are wanting to [end] the season [on a winning note].


“We have all built a friendship [and] bonded really quickly, [as compared] to other clubs. So, that’s a big bonus in the team.”


That her colleagues are all singing from the same hymn sheet is also due to the impact of head coach Stefanos Sakalis, the former Knox City youngster said, “Stefanos puts heaps of time [into the team], and that really shows. He is really determined and has a lot of pride in us. He deserves to have a good team and I guess we are the team for him.”


Fotopoulos, a commanding centre-back who excels through her match awareness, arrived at Wembley Park in 2018 from Glen Waverley, and bagged the U/16s’ NPLW title in her maiden season.


Now the skipper of the U/19s’ squad, the 16-year-old explained how she has had to step up as a leader, “Being the captain, you have got to keep the girls’ heads up, even if we do get a goal conceded. It’s to keep our heads up and keep it going. I have to show the girls it doesn’t matter if it’s one goal or two goals, it just matters that we participate.”


Box Hill U/19s’ quartet of Melanie Martinez, Laura Pickett, Gabriella Eggleton and Erin Keyt have made the cut with the senior women’s squad this term. Fotopoulos admitted how their steady progress is motivating those in the U/16s’ ranks to go the extra yard and vie for a first-team reckoning.


She said, “They are really amazing players. They put in the work on and off the pitch, and you can really see that with how they play. You can see why the seniors pick [them].”


Box Hill U/16 girls and U/14 boys will feature in the Gothia Cup in China this August. Fotopoulos sent her message to the travelling contingent saying, “It’s going to be hot, so keep hydrated. Show them respect, and we have to show Box Hill as a respected club. Put in 100% and work together, get to know each other and make Box Hill proud.” 


Images courtesy: Kick It Pics

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