Transitioning to college soccer has been a common challenge for some members of the IU women’s soccer team this season.
For freshman midfielder Julia De Angelis, though, the journey has been especially long.
A native of Canberra, Australia, De Angelis, who is currently in a starting role for IU Coach Amy Berbary, has had a decorated start to her young playing career.
“Julia has been fantastic for us,” Berbary said. “She has played at the highest level possible with the Australian national team and has come here and helped us out a lot in the midfield.”
De Angelis has represented Australia at both the under-17 and under-20 levels. As a member of the Australian under-17 national team, De Angelis played in qualifiers for the Asian Cup in the Philippines and also went on a playing tour of South Korea with the team.
Before arriving at IU, De Angelis made a name for herself in Australia playing for semi-professional soccer club Canberra United. While differences exist between the styles of play De Angelis experienced in Australia and the style of play at IU, she credits Berbary with helping the change be a smooth one.
“It’s always going to be slightly different coming from another country to another coaching technique, but Amy is a professional coach,” De Angelis said. “She has the same kind of mentality, and she brings out the best in me and the other girls on the team as well.”
Canberra United is one of the nine teams that compose the W-League, the highest-level women’s soccer league in Australia. De Angelis was awarded the team’s W-League Rising Star award in both 2014 and 2015. The opportunity to play for the club was presented to De Angelis after she played well as captain of the women’s soccer team at the ACT Academy of Sport in Canberra.
The highlight of De Angelis’ time with Canberra United came in 2014 when the team won its second W-League championship. De Angelis started several matches for Canberra United during that championship season, although not in the same position she currently plays at IU.
“I’ve been playing as a number 10 recently, and I have never really played in that attacking position before,” De Angelis said. “I’ve had to get used to trying to have an attacking mindset.”
After not playing for IU in the first five matches of the season, De Angelis has played in each of the team’s last five games. She recorded her first collegiate assist in IU’s 4-2 victory against James Madison on Sept. 11 and started IU’s Big Ten conference games against Northwestern and Illinois.
“In the midfield you need to really work as a unit,” De Angelis said. “It’s not just individuals out there running. Our defensive shape is something that we’ve improved on in each game, and we keep trying to solidify it. It’s just about getting used to working with everyone who is going to be coming into the midfield together.”
Aside from adapting to life at IU on the pitch, De Angelis has also had to adjust to a new country and style of living. The American university system is very different from higher education in Australia, but De Angelis said it is a change of pace that has pleased her.
“Culturally in Australia, college isn’t as big of a thing,” De Angelis. “We don’t really have college sports and if I was going to college in Australia, I probably wouldn’t be living on campus. It’s really different in that sense. It’s something nice and something new.”
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