Contributed by: Yoshihiro Imagawa Saturday, January 20 2018 @ 09:01 pm ACDT
We welcome Yoshihiro Imagawa to our writing staff. Yoshi is a huge St Kilda FC fan and has been a regular contributor to The Footy Almanac[*1] the past few years and is now assisting AFL Asia and AFL Japan to get their footy news out to the world.
On Friday, AFL Asia announced proudly and with delight that Hayley Leary had been appointed as AFL Asia AFLW Promotion and Development Officer for the 2018 season. Grown up in Melbourne and currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Hayley participated in the AFL Asia 2016 Asian Championship AFLW Exhibition match in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
Her great experience in playing footy in the exhibition match drove her in co-founding the Malaysian Warriors Women's team in 2017. On Saturday, 20 January, the Malaysian women club will be playing against the Cambodia Apsaras in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The leadership, footy and family are all hand in hand at her household, as she is married to Josh Leary who is the 2017 Malaysian Warriors Asian Campion Co-coach and Warrior women's team Co-Coach.
A great opportunity to train together for the Men's and Women's teams with the Women's team having upwards 20 players on track has been created, thanks to her and Malaysian Warriors leadership team. The women footballers represented countries from Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, UK, Scotland, Ireland, Iran, Philippines and importantly local Malaysians.
“In starting any team you need to have the local surrounding support and we are so thankful to the Malaysian Warriors for getting behind the Warriors Women’s team. The support from both the President Shaun Di Gregorio and the Warriors coaches has allowed for a smoother transition for all women into the club”. Hayley told afl-asia.com.
AFL Asia values Hayley's skills and experiences into moving forward in their areas of promoting and developing AFLW, in particular assisting other clubs looking to create AFLW teams for the first time and strategically assisting them through that embryo phase of recruiting new players to the club and initial administration process. Hayley takes her new role as a pay it forward type one, particularly after all the help and support she has received in starting up the Malaysian Warriors Women's team, and is looking forward to helping others out.
Hayley's promoting and developing AFLW in Asia will be centred in the AFL Asia for the 2018 season, with a highlight of hosting AFL Asia's first ever AFLW Asian Championships on Saturday, 13 October alongside their tradition Asian Championships, being played in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
AFL Asia will utilise Hayley's leadership skill set and vision for the game in order to regularly promote AFLW within Asia via their website and social media platforms, and ensure there is plenty of exposure for their new focus area in the build up to their first ever AFLW Asian Championships.