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ULTRA MAG | ISSUE 12 - JACYNTA GALABADAARACHCHI

ULTRA MAG | ISSUE 12 - JACYNTA GALABADAARACHCHI

Article by: Bella Sewards

Wed, Jul 06.22

ULTRA MAG | ISSUE 12 - JACYNTA GALABADAARACHCHI

Anybody who has watched Jacynta Galabadaarachchi play football, knows that she is gifted with impeccable talent, skills and effort. Ever since I played with her at a Junior Matilda’s camp, I knew at just 14 years old, she would become a Matilda. 


“Since I was younger I've always had big dreams, I always felt like I could do it,” Jacynta says. 

 

 

 

Last week, I was lucky enough to catch up with an old friend and talk all things football. Jacynta speaks about her opportunities with humility and appreciation, as her hard work and self-belief have given her an experience of a lifetime. 


At just 18 years old, the young footballer moved halfway across the world to follow her dreams. “Ever since I was maybe nine years old, I’ve said to my parents I wanted to play somewhere in Europe, somewhere overseas.” She was a “trailblazer” who made a mature decision on her own account. “I play for my family”, she says. 

Jacynta Gala Ultra Mag


She began her football journey in Australia, right here in Melbourne, playing for Casey Comets FC. One of Jacynta’s most precious memories at Casey was playing at the same club as her brother, about 15 years ago. She thinks it’s amazing to see how far women’s football has developed in a place so close to home. “I know when I was younger I always had to look up to male players,” she says. “It’s an amazing time…the girls can look up to professional female and male players now.” 

 

Jacynta Gala Ultra Mag


After signing with Melbourne City and Perth Glory in her early teenage years, she showed great ambition for football beyond her age. Seeking a new adventure, Jacynta traveled to Europe when she was 18 and signed for English Women’s football club, West Ham United F.C Women. “It was an amazing experience,” she says. This career-defining decision was clearly “the right move” as it exposed her to a new landscape, and helped her understand how women should be treated in a professional environment. 


“I struggled a lot at the start…if anybody knows me they know how close I am with my family.” The big move definitely had its challenges, as the teenager had to separate herself from a life she was very much used to. “You have to mentally separate yourself…you learn to let go of your life back at home and your football becomes your life.” This also meant moving away from her brother who she describes as her biggest inspiration in life and football. 


“I started playing football because of him.” Throughout our conversation, I recognised and understood on a personal level the bond she shares with her sibling, and when I tried to imagine a life without my own brother, I just couldn’t. “I always wanted to be like him,” she says. If anyone knows the young footballer, they understand that family is essential to everything she does. Her religion, passion and glamorous personality originates from them. “I always say to myself, you know when times get hard in football… you just think, you have to do it for your family and everything they have sacrificed.” 

Jacynta Gala Ultra Mag


After moving around clubs in Europe, Jacynta finally found a home at Scottish Women’s Premier League Club, Celtic F.C. Women. The forward slowly developed her position and now proves to be an essential part of the team. “When those awards (young player and player of the year) and Cups (Scottish Women’s Premier League and Scottish Cup winners) came, it was like a reward for such a hard season and working so hard.” The number 8 has now made a name for herself and has undoubtedly sparked curiosity from national team coaches.   


Looking up to big players like Messi and Maradona, Jacynta always dreamt of playing for big teams herself, and describes playing for Barcelona as a way to “die happy”. Having future aspirations like playing for Barcelona and the Matildas, Jacynta knows that “it’s a big dream…I just have to keep working and working towards that goal.”

Jacynta Gala Ultra Mag


With the Matildas getting ready for the World Cup, Jacynta is undeniably nervous but excited for the experience of preparing with the team. It is everything she deserves, and will take it day by day. “I’m just looking forward to the camp, and to show the team and the coaching staff what I can do,” she says. “To put on the green and gold for Australia, my family would be so proud.” 


It is a given that alongside her family, the country is thoroughly impressed and proud of everything Jacynta has achieved so far. The young professional will no doubt shine. She is a player who is brave and confident, and her unique personality is definitely one to look out for as it ignites itself on the pitch. 


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