Growing up in Switzerland, Ulrike Senti had always enjoyed her sport and has always wanted sportswomen like herself to be able to live out their dreams and passions.
Living in Tasmania, Australia in 2017, Uli was entranced when her roommate introduced the Australian game to her and she immediately wanted to be involved in this fast paced game.
“I am very attracted to the speed and power of this sport, it requires so many different skills and combines different sports like volleyball, basketball, running, which make it very attractive.”
After watching a few AFL games on television, Ulrike wanted to play AFL herself, which began her search for a club in the area. Finding the University of Tasmania (UTAS) club, Ulrike attended a training session and joined in on the action, realising just how much she was starting to love the game.
With no women’s team for UTAS at the time, Ulrike joined the women in training, where she made new friends, who were able to teach her how to kick a footy.
These women along with Ulrike eventually were able to play at a competitive level, where she loved the nature of the team and playing in a real match environment.
Disappointed that she may not be able to play footy when she arrived back home in Switzerland, Ulrike had a desperate Google search hoping to find something in her home country.
Grateful to find the Winterthur Lions online, she attended a training session when home, launching a whole new life and a sport that is rapidly growing in the area thanks to her passion.
Uli has helped AFL Switzerland grow immensely in such a short period of time, through her immersive nature and enjoyment of the game in the Lions mixed teams.
Now with a major role on the AFL Switzerland committee as the Secretary and Head of Women’s Development, Uli has been a real driving force for women playing this sport in Switzerland.
Responsible for Switzerland’s women’s national team, the Swiss Heidis, Ulrike continues to recruit new women to try out the sport and has had an extremely successful year. Forming a side in the most recent Euro Cup tournament in Sweden, Ulrike’s efforts lead them to a great day at the event.
Thanks to Ulrike and the many others who put in countless hours of hard work, the AFL Switzerland league started it’s inaugural season this year, taking a huge leap forward for AFL in the country.
Not only a major reason for the growth of the league, Uli is now a leader in the development for the new AFL club in Zurich. This club will join the Swiss league in 2020 and through her recruitment and experience in AFL, Ulrike is helping this to become a large part of the Swiss league in the near future.
Doing all she can for the sport through involving women and even younger people, Ulrike has big aspirations that she will no doubt be able to reach in the coming years.
“My biggest aim is of course is to sustain the women’s team. I know it’s a difficult task but I’d love to see a female league as it is definitely progression from playing a mixed competition. Another point I am working on is to promote Aussie rules within schools. I think this is an effective way of growing a new sport in a different environment.”
Ulrike’s teaching background is a major help for her aspirations, whether it be her ways of teaching someone new to the game how to handball or even her ability to relate to all different types of people.
AFL Switzerland is in extremely good hands with Ulrike Senti on the committee and with such a promising year already, this success will continue for many years to come.
Liam McAllion – AFL Europe