Gun-for-hire defence lawyer by day, rising star goalkeeper by weekend; Claire Coelho leads a demanding double life but the sacrifice of young footballers like her is blazing a trail for future generations.
It's a sunny Thursday afternoon at No 2 Sportsground before the Newcastle Jets' final-round W-League match and a few field players mill about in training gear, some jogging though some relaxed, half-paced drills.
Coelho is switched on, and still in work attire - the shot-stopper is about to put the goalkeeping gear on - but she has already done some defending in Newcastle Court. Her day started with an intense 6am personal training session, then two hearings, a few more hours with head buried in paperwork back at the office. If that sounds tiring, it is, but it's just another day in the life of the 24-year-old.
"Maintaining balance is hard but I like a forward-thinking approach," Coelho says. "I just mark my week out, and tick off a to-do list each day. It is full-on and tiring and very long days, but I genuinely love both jobs."
Both jobs. That is the reality for most W-League players; all the pressure and preparation required of professional sport, but all of it on part-time pay, plus the uncertainty of single year contracts and competing over a season that is far shorter than the fully professional men's A-League.
Coelho isn't alone in juggling work commitments. Teammates Tara Andrews and Lauren Allan gained degrees while playing, and Cassidy Davis has nearly completed a teaching degree. Even Ash Wilson - the club's first female coach - is also a high school teacher.
Speaking to Coelho's Jets teammates, the word sacrifice comes up a lot. That doesn't mean there isn't also enormous gratitude for the existence of the now 13-year-old W-League - something the players of the previous generation did not have -but there is a hope that through that sacrifice, that the next generation might experience equality.
THE balancing act of achieving academic and athletic excellence is something Coelho grew accustomed to as a star junior in Port Macquarie; she had already made her W-League debut while still studying for the HSC. A double degree with honours at Newcastle University followed and now there is the fulltime role with Mandy Hull & Associates.
It takes a different kind of person to want to be a goalkeeper.
As current French keeper Hugo Lloris said of the solo quest within a team sport, "there is nobody behind you to save you," and the same might be said of an attraction to defending criminal cases.
"With both, it is a case of constant problem solving," Coelho says.
"Whether I am on the field or at work, my mind doesn't stop. When I am on the field, I am constantly scanning for 90 minutes, looking for and finding problems, trying to solve them. In court, things pop up, and you need to think on your feet - maybe a witness gives an answer back that you do not expect, or brings something else up in evidence. My mind doesn't slow down too much.
"So there are some common characteristics - but the main one is communication. As a goalie it is my job to direct, and encourage ... although I definitely don't yell in the court room."
Coelho - which, for all of the broadcasters out there that butchered her name this season, it is pronounced "Kway-Lo" - doesn't need to raise her voice to command a presence. Calm and direct, it's easy to see why she thrives in a legal setting.
She says another key to both roles is body language and looking under control, even when you feel like you want the ground to swallow you up.
"Sometimes you might feel like that on the inside but you have to show that nothing affects you on the outside," she says.
"As a goalkeeper you are very exposed, you can't hide your mistakes.
"And in the courtroom, you can't brush over or hide anything. In goalkeeping you put yourself out there to get hit by a ball. I don't think anybody can understand it until they put the gloves."
THERE aren't too many tougher roles in sport than goalkeeper on a struggling team, and it was a challenging season for the Jets. The team finished second last, so Coelho was exposed often - and she was dropped early in the season for poor form - but she bounced back and her late season form was a bright spot for the side.
One freakish moment in particular stood out: two weeks ago against Canberra, in torrential rain, she is one-on-one with former Jets striker Nikki Flannery, who hits the ball sweetly. Coelho shows cat-like reflexes and agility, deflecting the ball on to the crossbar and out-of-bounds. After the Neo-from-Matrix-like highlight was posted on social media, a Jets fan on Twitter soon had a new nickname for Coelho: "The wall."
"Ninety-nine times out of a hundred that is a goal," Coelho says. "But that is what we prepare for. We had been doing a lot of reflex work at training and I said to the goalkeeper coach Andrew Goldman that the work obviously paid off."
One more for the similarities; preparation.
"Both jobs require continual learning, as a goals we try to learn ways to be that bit quicker across goals or get off the ground quicker. In law you have to find new avenues, different options and possibilities."
LATE last month United States women's football star Megan Rapinoe took the battle for equality to the White House, where she spoke in front of President Joe Biden, saying that despite her team's unprecedented success - four World Cups, including the last two - that "I am still paid less than men who do the same job that I do."
Australia is still behind the United States in terms of both the success and recognition of its national team but Coelho is hopeful that Australia hosting the FIFA Women's World Cup provides the same push the 2003 Cup sparked in America, which helped lay the foundation for the USA's current golden era.
"I do think the women's game is ready to take off and that after the World Cup here the sport will go mad," Coelho says, adding that an extension of the current W-League season, to run parallel with the men's league, would be a step in the right direction domestically.
PERHAPS in the push for equality and fulltime professionalism, the school girl that sees Coelho as a role model, the girl with both academic and athletic dreams like the ones Coelho pursued, will at some stage have to choose between study and sport.
"That is the difficulty at times," Coelho says. "With the progression of the women's game, you might lose players like myself and Tara Andrews. But if one girl from the next generation can do both - play W-League and still have a career outside of football - then that would be great."
"I think I would just like to see women reaching their full potential in football and as people off the field. That is something I have prided myself on."