Izzy Foletta: “Feeling comfortable” with her game back home at Perth

The return of locally produced star Izzy Foletta to Perth Glory during this season provided a big boost to the club. With the A-League Women season approaching its climax, Izzy spoke exclusively to Ben Gilby about her footballing journey and her superb form at the club since re-joining.

Above: Izzy Foletta in possession for Perth Glory against Western Sydney Wanderers this season. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

Izzy Foletta has been one of the most impressive members of the Perth Glory squad this season, after arriving back at the club mid-campaign. Her performances and link-up play helped to reignite her local side’s bid for Finals football.

Coming into the new A-League Women campaign, Foletta was without a contract, and she takes up the story as to how she returned to the club. “I decided to head home to be with my family after my NPL NSW season had ended and I had no A-League contract.

“I contacted Alex (Epakis, Perth Glory head coach) just before I came back as we had spoken a few times throughout the year regarding this season to let him know I will be heading back to Perth. He invited me to come down to the team’s pre–season sessions and be around the team. After a few weeks and a couple of discussions, he rang me with some amazing news which was a contract.”

Above: Izzy Foletta looks to challenge Brisbane Roar’s Shea Connors. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

That phone call brought Foletta’s footballing journey back full circle to the place she calls home. “I started playing football with my local club Stirling Panthers at the age of five. I only started because I could not sit still whilst watching my brother play so my parents decided to get me involved as soon as I was old enough!”

“I played there for a few years then moved to Balcatta SC, I played with the boys most of my youth career. I then joined the Football West HPC program which rolled into state teams which I started being involved in at the age of 12 and then into the NTC program which I was there until I was about 17 years old.

“In my last year at NTC, I got invited to train with the Perth Glory squad and that is how I got my A-League scholarship contract and then received a full contract following that. I then moved to Sydney for the NPL season during the A-League off-season. After two years of playing my off-seasons in Sydney, I got contracted by Canberra United and played there for a season.

“During the peak of COVID when most leagues had stopped in Australia, I headed to Italy to play for Lazio and then returned to play for Brisbane Roar.  Following my season with Roar, I returned to Sydney to play NPL before returning to Perth ahead of this A-League Women season.”

Foletta was part of the Canberra United squad that played Finals football in 2020/21 – it was a period that she looks back fondly upon. “Life in Canberra was amazing. I was a little hesitant to live in Canberra at the start but ended up loving it.

Above: Izzy Foletta looks to create against Wellington Phoenix. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

“The team at Canberra that year were great. Everyone played for everyone and left nothing out on the park each and every game which definitely got us to the Finals. I also learned a lot, both as a footballer and a person under the coach, Vicki Linton. The fans at Canberra United absolutely loved it and they really helped create a fortress at Viking Park similar to (Perth Glory’s) Macedonia Park.”

The defender’s period in Italy was eye-opening, in a league that Foletta believes is at a comparable standard to the A-League Women. “On and off the field, Italy was an amazing experience. I learned so much both as a footballer and as a person.

“It was a similar setup in regards to professionalism to Australia. The standard of the league was varied, obviously, your top teams like Juventus and Inter Milan were amazing, but the other teams still were up there also. To compare it with the A-League Women I think it’s obviously a different style of football but I do think the A-League is definitely catching up to the European leagues.”

After experiencing a challenging start to the campaign, Foletta found her feet back at her hometown club and was part of a team that went on a six-game unbeaten run to renew their challenge for Finals football. The defender has been in outstanding form, something she believes head coach Alex Epakis deserves some credit for.

“As a player under Alex, I feel like he has helped me feel comfortable with my game and overall feel comfortable and confident playing in the A-League. He also allows me to explore the freedom in my position to play a lot higher up the park which I love.” 

Above: Izzy Foletta celebrates her goal for Perth Glory against Newcastle Jets. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

That atmosphere of confidence in players’ abilities and a supportive ethos is one that Foletta believes has played a significant part in the club’s run of results since the turn of the year.

“Every single player in the squad is putting 110% in every training session and game, not just for themselves but for the team. What we have in this team is unstoppable when we put it all out on the park and that is what we are trying to do every game.”

Perth Glory are now in the midst of their last three games of the season which sees all those matches played in different states within a six-day period. Foletta outlined what that sort of schedule is like for the squad.

“Unfortunately that’s football sometimes. Personally, managing the tight schedule of games with travel, you just have to ensure you are recovering after every session and game the best you can. The club really help us with our post-training and post-game recovery with massages, ice baths etc which really helps with a tight schedule.”

With Foletta heading back to the east coast to play her NPLW football once Perth Glory’s season is done, there will be many fans in WA hoping that she comes back home to pull on a purple shirt once more for 2023/24. Watch this space.

Artwork: Charlotte Stacey, founder of on Her Side.

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