De Vanna's all heart

She's been described as outrageous, excitable and by her coach as something of an enigma, but Perth Glory striker Lisa De Vanna is also as passionate as you can get when it comes to promoting football for women in her state.

She's been described as outrageous, excitable and by her coach as something of an enigma, but Perth Glory striker Lisa De Vanna is also as passionate as you can get when it comes to promoting football for women in her state.

Despite taking her game to another level by playing professionally with Swedish side AIK in 2008 and with Washington Freedom in the US this year, home is where the heart is for the Matildas star as she leads the Glory attack in its second Westfield W-League season.

A Fremantle native, De Vanna is particularly keen not to give anyone a chance to question her commitment to Australian football.

Instead she wants to use her abilities and status to teach and inspire a new generation of Australian internationals, starting with her Glory team-mates, many of whom have been called up to national training camps and junior Matildas squads.

"I play for Glory, for the heart, you know, it's heart," said De Vanna.

"When I go to America, it's purely because it's my job, although I (do) love playing (there)."

"(But) I don't want people to think that someone of my status stays in America and doesn't come home," she added.

"I come home and try to be more inspirational to the young girls."

"I'm trying to motivate them and give them a bit of hope and belief and if they can see where I've been and what I've done, then they can think that they can get there too."

Indeed it's been a long road for the 24-year-old. Going into the 2007 World Cup in China, De Vanna's occupation was simply listed as unemployed, while she tragically lost her father three months before the tournament following a long illness.

Not one to take a backward step, De Vanna dedicated each of her four World Cup goals to her dad. The surprise package of the tournament, her lightning pace and ability to take on and beat opposition defences saw her best described by SBS football analyst Craig Foster as 'rocket fuel'.

Despite the Matildas bowing out in a 3-2 quarter-final loss to Brazil, De Vanna was named in the FIFA's Women's World Cup All Star Team, while also being nominated for the FIFA Player of the Year award. Along the way she also picked up the Western Australian Sportswoman of the Year award in 2007.

Having achieved all this in her first major tournament, you'd almost forgive her for resting on her laurels, but De Vanna's also determined to make an impact with the Glory.

Last year, a young and somewhat naive Perth side struggled with the tempo of the competition during the early stages, not recording a win until Round 4. But having established some form, the Glory only lost one of their last five games and even that was a 5-3 defeat to eventual premier Queensland in the season's best match.

This time around, the Glory have posted their first win in Round 2, with De Vanna looking the most dangerous player on the park in a 1-0 win over Newcastle last Saturday.

She may not have officially scored, as Perth's goal was credited to Matildas' team-mate Collette McCallum, but the curling corner from McCallum certainly appeared to rebound off her back and into the net.

More importantly for first-year Perth coach John Gibson, De Vanna is no solo show this time around, the striker saying she's determined to use her skills to bring others into the game, as she did with great effect against the Jets when her passes set up numerous chances for team-mates.

"In the W-League, people sort of knew my strengths and weaknesses," De Vanna said.

"They know that when I get the ball I can run at players. So I thought that now I have to change it up a little bit because I could become predictable."

"I've been in America and the tempo of the game has made me a bit smarter in how I play. I found that players there can catch up with me. They're a bit smarter, so I had to change my game a little bit (and become more a goal creator)."

"(And) to have that variation in my game a little bit will hopefully be a benefit for the Aussie team as well."