Photo by: Rob Lawson Photography
It is with enormous pride that we announce Jess Dal Pos as our inaugural Darebin Women’s Sports Club AFLW Player in Residence.
Jess brings to the role a wealth of footy and leadership skills, passion for empowering players to be their best selves, and commitment to the Falcons Way, inspiring girls and women to live and play with fairness, determination to be the best they can, and respect for each other and the Club.
We could not be more thrilled to have Jess on board!
The importance of AFLW role models.
Since the launch of the AFLW, our home-grown Darebin Falcons’ stars have been more than generous in their willingness to give back to our Club, whether attending Club events, jumper presentations, coaching Falcons Academy School holidays clinics, or helping out at training.
In a sporting industry dominated by men, having such strong, athletic, female role models is inspiring and empowering for girls and women, and a real advance for gender equality.
We felt though, to really support women’s professional pathways in Australian football, we needed to do more to recognise the worth of such elite, high-profile sports people.
This sparked the idea of an ‘AFLW Player in Residence’ at the Darebin Women’s Sports Club. This is to be an active collaboration with an elite footballer to embed her across our community club and equally, to offer her some financial support within the sporting industry as befits her value.
Small steps in breaking through that “grass ceiling” and its invisible barrier to growth in female sport.
A dedicated teammate, coach and leader.
Jess has been a Falcon since 15 years of age when she first joined our Youth Girls team, playing with, and then coaching, our Under 18s to 4 premierships.
Jess then graduated to our senior team, overcoming her awe to excel alongside other great Falcon stars, Daisy Pearce, Darcy Vescio, Karen Paxman, Aasta O’Connor, Katie Brennan and more, to win a further 4 premierships, 2 All Australians and 5 Victorian State Representatives.
Over the same years, Jess played for the Western Bulldogs (2013), then Melbourne (2015, 2016), in the pre AFLW demonstration matches, before being drafted as an AFLW priority pick to the GWS Giants for the first, 2017, season.
Jess was rewarded with the inaugural GWS Best and Fairest Gabrielle Trainor medal that year, and has continued to play for the Giants for the five AFLW seasons to date.
I like to watch lots of different sports, particularly women’s sport. There is so much inspiration and education to be found when watching…female athletes around the world.
I often use things I see those athletes doing and try and add them into my training.
Over 2020, Jess worked with us along with long time teammates, friends and co-collaborators Darcy Vescio and Aasta O’Connor to create Strong Girls Work in Progress, a series of online skills and health resources to encourage girls and women to strive to be our best selves.
These included the Falcons Footy Fundamentals, Health and Fitness tips, and opportunity to take their skills, experiences and journeys of empowerment through sport to schools, community or corporate groups through Insight Sessions. The AFLW Player in Residence will add, therefore, to the Strong Girls WIP resources.
In the Player in Residence role, Jess has already joined our senior women’s teams as Developmental Coach, and will run skills clinics with junior teams across the Club, coach our Falcons Academy school holiday program (open to girls from all Clubs), as well as have a presence across the Darebin community to promote girls’ and women’s inclusion and participation in sport and physical activity.
We are particularly keen to engage with schools, and First Nation and multicultural groups as paths less travelled in female participation in sport.
We are grateful for the support of Sport and Recreation Victoria and Change Our Game in offering this initiative in 2021 and hope to continue in future years through donations and sponsorship.