Perth Glory Women midfielder Shawn Billam is known for her hard-work and ball-winning ability on the pitch. Off the pitch, the 23-year old is known as “Miss Billam” or “Coach Billam” by the high school students she works with on an almost daily basis.
“I’m a permanent relief PE teacher at Irene McCormack Catholic College in Butler. I substitute when teachers are away or sick. I’m really lucky that I’m allowed to take students off campus and get invited on school camping trips so it’s like I’m a full-time member of the staff,” the midfielder said of her “other” job.
“I started teaching because I really enjoy working with younger people. I studied sports and exercise science then went into teaching. I get joy from seeing students happy and having fun.”
“My days consist of motivating students to play sports. I love being interactive with students and spend most of my days joining in and playing games with them.”
While she enjoys her work, there are benefits to only being part-time for now.
“I would love to teach full-time eventually, but (relief work) is good enough for the time being and allows me plenty of time for football. I’m very lucky to work at a school that fully supports my commitments and does not give me grief for having time off for football.”
In addition to serving as a relief PE teacher, Billam also coaches for the girls’ soccer team once a week.
“The girls I coach think it’s awesome that I play for Glory Women. Some of them come down to watch the games!”
Football has always been a big part of Billam’s life.
“I started playing football because my parents didn’t know what to do with me as a child. I had so much energy and they put me in dance classes, but quickly realised that wasn’t me. So I started training with my brother’s football team. I grew up in England where everyone plays so I was able to join a boys’ team and I went from there.”
Billam and her family immigrated to Perth when she was 14, and she stuck with football as her primary outlet, joining ECU U17’s, eventually making her way to Perth Glory Women in 2011.
“I continue to play to prove people wrong and grow the game for females. So many times we are told that playing football will get us nowhere and as a teacher I want to show the girls I teach that there is a pathway for them if they wish to play”
She and the rest of the Glory Women will play their final match of the 2015/16 campaign on Sunday away to Western Sydney Wanderers.
The match will kick-off at 12pm AWST. Follow along on twitter using #WSWvPER