When it comes to the sporting world, women have traditionally gotten the short end of the stick. They work and play as hard as their male counterparts but receive less attention and pay. This unfortunate fact has discouraged many female athletes but some have remained undaunted. One of them is none other than the Australian soccer star, Lisa De Vanna. From her dribbling skills to her intimidating pace on the field, De Vanna has carved out a niche as one of the greatest female footballers of all time. She has won several laurels and has grown to become one of the finest ambassadors of the beautiful game.
Falling in Love with the Round-Leather Game
Born and raised in Perth, De Vanna started showing a strong interest in football as a child and would always sleep with her ball beside her. As time and years passed by, she began playing football with her brother on the streets, from where she eventually made her way to the Australian women national team. At the club level, De Vanna started her professional football career in 2007 with the English league side, Doncaster Rovers Belles. From there, she moved to the Swedish club, AIK, after just one year.
In 2008, this talented and charming footballer returned to her hometown to play in the W-league for Perth Glory. After recording much success, she proceeded to America where she stood apart in the WPS (Women Professional Soccer) International Draft. She was selected 18th overall and by March 2009, she officially signed with Washington Freedom. De Vanna spent three years with Washington Freedom during which she recorded great strides. She, however, had to leave after the side folded up in 2012.
Becoming An International Soccer Star
Since then, Lisa De Vanna has become something of a nomad, playing for several clubs in Australia, the United States of America, and Europe. They include MagicJack, Perth Glory, Brisbane Roar, Newcastle Jets, Sky Blue FC, Orlando Pride, Sydney FC, Boston Breakers, Melbourne Victory, and Florentina. She has won several laurels at club level including four W-League Championships, FFA female footballer of the year, WNSL Golden Boot, and the Julie Dolan Medal.
Lisa De Vanna has also replicated her success at the national level. She first played for Australia Under-20 women’s side in 2002 and was subsequently called up to the senior national team, fondly known as the Matildas, in 2004. Since then, she has represented her country at several tournaments including the 2004 and 2016 summer Olympics as well as the 2007, 2011, and 2015 editions of the women’s world cup.
De Vanna has been capped 150 times and has scored 47 goals, making her the highest-scoring player in Matildas’ history. Asides this historic feat, the forward has also won many accolades at the national level including the Asian Cup, World Cup All-Star, and a nomination for the Fifa Puskas Award (annually awarded to the most beautiful goal in the game for the past year).
Playing for Passion’s Sake
One of the burning issues in the world of sports remains the issue of equal pay for male and female athletes. Some argue that women and men sports stars should receive the same amount of pay while some oppose, maintaining that the women’s game does not attract as many spectators and sponsorship money as the men’s game. This argument has been raging one for decades and some sports, most notably tennis, have gone on to introduce equal pay across board. It is, however, a different ball game when it comes to football. Male stars rake in millions of dollars each week and routinely top Forbes list of the highest-earning athletes in the world.
In stark difference, female footballers have to content themselves with meager salaries and never make it to the list of highest-paid female athletes in the world. This sorry state of affairs has also affected Lisa de Vanna. When she first played in England in 2006, her first salary was £50 per week. She, therefore, had to supplement it by working part-time in a bar. The situation predictably improved as De Vanna moved from one club to the other but things were still tight. Even after she gave a magnificent performance at the 2007 World Cup, scoring four goals, she still had to return home and work as a gas attendant just to make ends meet.
Fortunately for De Vanna, she had fallen in love with football as a child and nothing was going to stop her from exploring her love. She, therefore, ignored the bad pay and poor motivation and preserved at her passion. That perseverance has now paid off as the striker now earns $50,000 per season and has an impressive net worth of $1 million. De Vanna can now afford a good life in the historic Italian town of Florentina. She spends her mornings and afternoons training and taking language classes. She subsequently spends her evenings strolling through the city and admiring its art galleries and renaissance architecture. The footballer also owns two cars – Hyundai i30 and Hyundai Kona. Her dream ride however remains the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
What We Know About Lisa De Vanna’s Personal Life
In a 2017 letter that she penned for Athletic Voices, Lisa De Vanna expressly stated that she had an unhealthy obsession with football and that the game was everything to her. This obsession has controlled much of the striker’s outlook and as such, she doesn’t seem to have much of a personal life outside football. There have not been any rumored romantic relationships with members of the opposite sex or even the same sex for that matter. This, however, does not mean that De Vanna is a eunuch.
— Lisa De Vanna (@lisadevanna11) May 1, 2018
She must have been surely involved in a few relationships but has chosen to keep that away from public glare and maintain strict professionalism. Meanwhile, the Aussie soccer star is happy to shower all of her love on her close-knit family comprising of her mom, Connie (who is Portuguese), elder brother, Dom, and younger sister, Sophia. De Vanna’s father (who is Italian) sadly passed away in August 2007 and she dedicated all four of her goals at the 2007 World Cup to his memory. She later revealed that she had made a promise to him in that regard and as such, bore him in mind all throughout the duration of the tournament.