Victory women’s Head Coach, Jeff Hopkins has built a culture of unity and determination since arriving at the Club in 2016.
Hopkins and the squad’s resilience emerged in April when they lifted the Westfield W-League Championship, bouncing back from Premier’s Plate heartbreak.
The Welshman, who recently signed a two-year contract extension, has overcome an array of challenges during his tenure with Victory.
A difficult start
Hopkins moved to Victoria without his immediate family five years ago and was faced with the task of rebuilding Victory’s women’s team.
“We made some good progress in the first year, maybe not in terms of points as we did finish last, but we did start to change the culture and the way we did things,” Hopkins said.
“The first year was very tough, but I learnt the value of having a club that backs you and shares the long-term vision.”
Hopkins’ plan paid off in his third year with the Club, as Victory secured a maiden Premier’s Plate, an opportunity which the Head Coach remains grateful for.
“I’m sure there are clubs that would’ve went about their business differently,” he said.
Hopkins’ domestic success wasn’t achieved without some setbacks along the way, including a narrow defeat on the penultimate day of 2020/21 season – missing out on a second league title.
Despite a late response from Kyra Cooney-Cross, Sydney lifted the Premier’s Plate, days before the 2020/21 Finals series began.
“Afterwards, we stayed out on the field to show Sydney some respect while they were presented with the trophy, but also to make sure it hurt,” Hopkins said.
“It was important that we felt that feeling and we made sure it didn’t happen again.”
Eleven days later, Victory bounced back from the Premier’s Plate disappointment by securing the 2020/21 W-League Championship, Hopkins’ second trophy with the Club.
“Lifting that trophy was a release of emotion and relief,” he said.
“We went that far to the 120th minute and avoided the lottery of a penalty shootout.
“The players worked incredibly hard on the field last season and I can guarantee they partied just as hard afterwards.”
The Head Coach credits the unity and resilience within the squad for the success in 2020/21.
“We are like a family, whether we’re doing well or doing badly, we pull together,” said the Head Coach.
“Seeing the players think about each other was great for me to see as a coach and when things got tough, we always came out fighting.”