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Why Indiah’s rise is no surprise

Posted: 1pm 05 Aug 2020

Indiah-Paige Riley’s remarkable rise from North Lakes to Europe’s elite may shock some – but not her former football coaches in the Moreton Bay Region.

In just seven years, Indiah, now 18, has gone from a football rookie at The Lakes to this week signing a three-year professional contract with Danish champions Fortuna Hjorring.

As winners of Denmark’s national competition, for a third time in five years, Fortuna Hjorring are now in the 2020-21 UEFA Women’s Champions League.

It will be a far cry from training at The Lakes College, Moreton Bay United’s Brendale and Albany Creek grounds or in Logan with Brisbane Roar.

Rugby to football

Born in New Zealand, Indiah played rugby before trying football at The Lakes in 2013, scoring 19 goals in 12 games as her team won the Under 12 Division 3 Premiership.

“She has done fantastically well. I’m delighted for her,” says Damian Jenkins, who coached Indiah for two years at The Lakes.

“She was great with us. One of the best players in the side. She is a natural, she has natural talent and a good football brain, but you could see she is also very determined.

“We won the Under 12 league and lost the grand final that first year, but then I felt she was getting frustrated and recommended her to Moreton Bay United.”

Indiah’s switch reaped rewards with Moreton Bay winning the NPL Qld Under 15 Girls’ title in 2016, losing just once in 22 games. Indiah scored 31 goals.

Rugby to football

Born in New Zealand, Indiah played rugby before trying football at The Lakes in 2013, scoring 19 goals in 12 games as her team won the Under 12 Division 3 Premiership.

“She has done fantastically well. I’m delighted for her,” says Damian Jenkins, who coached Indiah for two years at The Lakes.

“She was great with us. One of the best players in the side. She is a natural, she has natural talent and a good football brain, but you could see she is also very determined.

“We won the Under 12 league and lost the grand final that first year, but then I felt she was getting frustrated and recommended her to Moreton Bay United.”

Indiah’s switch reaped rewards with Moreton Bay winning the NPL Qld Under 15 Girls’ title in 2016, losing just once in 22 games. Indiah scored 31 goals.

Explosive speed

Phil Hughes, who coached the team that year, says: “For her age, I thought Indiah had the fastest feet for a boy or girl.

“She had great speed of thought, explosive runs over the first 5-10 metres. She had a great attitude, willingness to learn and determination to get better through hard work.

“I am proud to have helped Indiah on her journey and I wish her continued success. I hope to see her play for the Matildas!”

Brisbane Roar offered a path to the national level. Indiah made her W-League debut on November 4, 2018 and she scored her first W-League goal on her 17th birthday at Dolphin Stadium, Redcliffe, the following month.

Indiah made 10 W-League appearances in both 2018-19 and 2019-20 scoring three goals and was named the 2019 W-League Young Player of the Year.

“Indi is a credit to her family and her previous clubs and coaches,” says Jake Goodship, head coach of Brisbane Roar’s W-League squad, “they must be acknowledged for their role in her career.

“Indi’s attitude, character, mannerisms within the group and her ability to work hard give her a good foundation to continue to develop as a young person and player.

“It’s no surprise European clubs are looking at promising players we have, this is due to our philosophy of nurturing and developing young Aussie and local players at the club. It’s a fantastic opportunity for them.”

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