Tragedy that prepared E-League's first female competitor to silence the critics

Newcastle Jets’ Liz Varley may be the E-League’s first female competitor, but she’s already shown why she deserves to contend with Australia’s best EA Sports FIFA players.

When Varley’s hometown club first selected the Maitland local as their Xbox player for the 2019 season, she was subjected to criticism from some disgruntled members of the community who felt she was undeserving of the spot.

While competitors in any sport may have let such criticism impact them, Varley showed no such signs in her first ever E-League match-up.

Facing off in a two-legged tie against Adelaide United’s Jamie O’Doherty – who was voted Australian esports player of the year in 2018 – 21-year-old Varley justified her selection and proved her doubters wrong.

Despite conceding a goal early in her first game, Varley fought back with determination and grit to not only score an equaliser, but also secure victory with a 90th-minute winning goal.

Varley’s success on her first night of E-League action didn’t stop there.

E-League Round 2 Preview: Rematch that sparked the infamous 'W'

After visibly frustrating O’Doherty, Varley defeated the Reds representative for the second-straight match.

Varley’s two victories from two games not only won the respect of fellow competitors and E-League fans watching at home, but it earnt her the ‘Competitor of the Round’ award for her two gutsy performances.

However, this is not the first time Varley’s dealt with adversity in her life and came out on top.

The life-long Jets fan started playing football at age of seven and quickly began attending to Newcastle games with her mother.

Their highlight was watching the Jets’ 2008 Hyundai A-League Grand Final triumph over their rivals – the Central Coast Mariners.

But, sadly, Varley’s mother passed away one year after the Grand Final following a five-year battle with breast cancer.

It was a difficult experience to endure, but it was one that helped shape Varley into the person she is today.

“I feel like I had to grow up real quick (after her mother’s passing),” Varley told the E-League website.

“I feel like now nothing much bothers me at all. I can cop anything and take anything from anyone.

“At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what people think. You just got to get on with it.”

She added: “Nothing much gets to me. Life’s too short to worry about that stuff.”

That was the attitude Varley implemented when she was subjected to criticism following her E-League selection for the Jets.

I just looked at it (E-League selection) as an awesome opportunity for me and I’d be silly to turn it down,” she said.

“I have taken in the positive comments and let them be the ones that stay with me.”

Positive compliments are exactly what Varley started receiving in bucket loads after her impressive first week performance in the E-League.

As well as representing the Jets, she’s proud to be the first female competitor in the E-League – especially given EA Sports FIFA competitions have usually been dominated by male participants.

“It’s really exciting for me,” said Varley.

“There’s not a whole lot of female FIFA players out there that I know of.

“I feel like there’s more and more coming through and getting involved in the Twitch community & YouTube community. I feel like it’s a cool moment for to be able to represent them all.”

Varley also thinks that there’s more and more opportunity for females to become part of the E-League and other esports competitions – if they’re willing to give it their all.

“My advice would be to get involved in the community of whichever game you want to be a part of, whether that be through Twitter, Twitch etc.,” she explained

“At first I held back from those things, thinking that as a female I would just be judged and no one would take any notice of my opinion.

“Since mixing with the community, the majority of people are really welcoming and are glad to see females getting involved in gaming.

“So I’d say get involved in the communities, take any opportunity that comes your way and don’t let what others may think hold you back.”

Varley faces Melbourne Victory’s Mouad Zwed in a Round 2 clash live on Thursday night! 

Watch the E-League LIVE from 9:30pm AEDT on FOX Sports 505 or LIVE STREAM the  matches on the official E-League Twitch channel

More Important Information: