An elite footballer who has travelled the world and represented Australia, Western Sydney Wanderers star Bryleeh Henry is set to take on a new challenge in 2021: university.
The year ahead is shaping to be a juggling act for Bryleeh, as she prepares to begin her studies at Western Sydney University during her rookie season with the Wanderers’ W-League team, affectionately known as the “Wander Women”.
Like many first-year students, Bryleeh is not too sure where university might take her but is looking forward to the future.
“I’m doing a Bachelor of Health and Exercise Science at Western Sydney this year,” she said.
“I like to be outdoors and keeping active, so I’m excited to see where this might take me.”
Bryleeh, who plays mainly as a striker, is considered to be one of the most promising young players in Australian women’s football.
At just 17 years of age, she has already represented Australia with the Junior Matildas, participated in tours of Asia and the Pacific Islands, and earned selection in a Matildas Talent Identification Camp.
And while she does not yet have her off-field ambitions set in stone, Bryleeh has already mapped out a detailed plan for her football career – including Matildas selection and a move to Europe.
“Next year I’m hoping to return to the Wanderers and stay in the W-League,” she explained.
Some of her other plans are to be part of next year’s under 20s World Cup, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup with the Matildas, and to go and play in Europe within the next three years.
“That is definitely one of my long-term goals, to go and play there where most Matildas players are now.”
But for now, Bryleeh is focussed fully on her first year at university and the remainder of the W-League season.
This year is her first playing in Australia’s elite football league, having secured a contract with the Wanderers after scoring seven goals in ten games for Football NSW Institute in the 2020 NPL season.
Bryleeh states that she is “loving” her time with the Wanderers and rubbing shoulders with Australia’s best female footballers.
“It’s crazy that I’m playing for the Wanderers because I grew up here in Western Sydney watching the team, they’re my hometown club,” she says.
“The coaches are amazing and supportive, and all the experienced players like Caitlin Cooper, Leena Khamis and Georgia Yeoman-Dale are really nice and approachable which has made it a lot easier to settle in,” she adds.