Meet the Sydney Swans’ newest recruit – Sophie Wrigley.
Sophie, 10, has been one of the strongest voices amid an outpouring of support for Swans champ Adam Goodes after the dual Brownlow Medallist took personal leave in the wake of the latest booing controversy.
Devastated by her hero’s absence last weekend, the avid Swans fan started a Facebook page called “Stand Up For Goodsey” in an effort to spread a positive message about the issue.
“One young girl’s stance against racism,” the page’s description reads. “My name is Sophie and I want people to join me in standing up for Goodsey.”
According to Sophie’s mum Claire, the response has been overwhelming with the page attracting almost 3,000 likes in a matter of days while people “from all walks of life” have either posted messages of support or helped spread the message.
Local news outlets in the Wrigley’s home town of Geelong, like The Geelong Advertiser, jumped on board so Sophie has been quite the popular one recently with countless media commitments keeping the pint-sized campaigner extremely busy.
Sophie, who was born with hemiplegia (a form of cerebral palsy) which left her with paralysis down the left side of her body, didn’t have tickets to Saturday night’s game initially and desperately wanted to see her number one man back in action.
But it didn’t take long for the general public to answer the call with the family inundated with tickets for the clash at Kardinia Park. Seats were even offered up by Geelong supporters such has been the impact of Sophie’s story.
The plea reached Sydney Swans HQ and, as a result, the Club has invited Sophie to don the red and white and join the players out on to the field as a mascot.
“She’s been running around in her kit already,” Claire Wrigley said, talking about the Club’s gift pack received in the mail which included tickets for the family plus a guernsey, shorts and footy socks for Sophie to wear on the night.
“One of the positives to come out of this is people are now talking about this issue and the support has been great...not just from the local community but internationally as well.”
Sophie, thanks to the Starlight Children’s Foundation, met Goodesy for the first time last season during a special one-on-one training session at the SCG.
A moment she’ll treasure forever, assuming Saturday night’s experience doesn't take the cake.
She couldn't wait to meet the no.37 again and wants nothing more than for Goodesy to simply “have a good game” – and for the Swans to win of course.