Ellie’s eye for goal turns heads in BASL

RISING STAR: Strathdale's Ellie Vlaeminck tormented opposition defenders with her mix of speed and skill.

RISING STAR: Strathdale's Ellie Vlaeminck tormented opposition defenders with her mix of speed and skill.

Scored the most goals in the competition, carried the club’s midfield and striking duties and heavily watched by opposing clubs – that reads like the profile of a seasoned soccer star.

It is the CV of a Bendigo soccer star.  In fact, Strathdale Soccer Club’s Rachel Oper had no hesitation in declaring Ellie Vlaeminck the best striker in the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League women’s division.

However, Ellie is not an experienced, seasoned veteran. She is just 14.

The Catholic College Bendigo student dominated her first season in the women’s open age competition, scoring a league-high 39 goals in 17 games.

Ellie had four hauls of five goals and was scoreless in just one match for the season.

“We were actually hoping Ellie would have played with us last year,’’ Oper, Ellie’s team-mate, said.

“She’s so smart with the ball, great skills, she’s fast and she’s a team player.

“We played her in different positions this year to keep the opposition guessing because she was watched so closely.

“There’s no better striker in the competition than Ellie.”

Ellie could have continued playing under-age junior soccer with and against the boys this year, but decided to embrace the challenge of playing in open-age league against women.

“I wanted to try something new and give it a go,’’ Ellie said.

“There was more intensity and I got decked a few times.  It was a lot of fun.”

Despite Strathdale being a middle-of-the-road team, Ellie was able to use her class to find the back of the net regularly.

“I started the season in the midfield, but as the season went on I spent more time at striker,’’ Ellie said.

“I prefer to play striker and kick some goals. I was a bit surprised with how many I scored.”

NPL women’s clubs in Melbourne will come knocking at the Vlaeminck’s door, but for now Ellie is content mixing soccer with her other sporting passion – basketball.

Ellie is a talented point guard with the Bendigo Junior Braves under-16 squad.

“I like soccer a bit better,’’ Ellie admitted.

That’s music to Oper’s ears. She’d love to see Ellie running around in a blue shirt again in 2018.

“One of Ellie’s greatest traits is she’s so modest,’’ Oper said.

“She could be playing in Melbourne already, but she made a commitment to her grassroots club. The whole Vlaeminck family have been wonderful for Strathdale Soccer Club.

“I’m sure Ellie will end up playing in Melbourne in the next year or so.”