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Elissia Carnavas (née Canham), Class of 2022 is very proud of the special place she holds in Australian football, being the first known female of African descent to represent an official Australian national football team.

A bright young star of Australian football, Elissia played representative football from the age of 11 and quickly ascended the ranks to become a Queensland Academy of Sport scholarship holder at the age of 13 and one of the youngest players to play in the Women’s National Soccer League (WNSL) at the age of 14.  Elissia played in the WNSL with the QLD Sting winning dual premierships and went on to become one of the youngest players selected in the first Young Matildas team in 2001 at the age of 16.  At 17, Elissia was selected for Australia to participate in the FIFA U19 Women’s World Cup in Canada where the team became the first Australian National Women’s Team to reach a quarter final of a major tournament.  Elissia was a late call-up under Adrian Santrac to join the Matildas for the Australia Cup tournament and was subsequently selected in the 26-player Olympic Squad for the Athens Olympics in 2004, although was not available for final selection due to injury. In the mid-2000s, Elissia joined Perth Glory in the newly formed W-League.

Elissia has been a National Premier League coach, is a mother, holds a degree in Health Science from the Queensland University of Technology and is a board member of Olympic FC, Brisbane.

Passionate about inclusion and diversity in sport and an avid sports lover, Elissia is currently a commentator and football analyst for the Sports Network and weekly radio show, The Global Game, alongside Simon Hill and Alex Brosque. 

Most recently, Elissia brought her unique perspective and experience to her commentary role for the FIFA Women’s World Cup hosted by Australia and New Zealand, commentating over 24 matches around Australia.  From being part of the formative period in women’s football in this country, she was honoured to follow the trajectory of today’s players who stand on the “shoulders of many, many amazing players who have played and given the women’s game its formation and foundations…”