It’s hard to imagine AFLW gun Jacqui Vogt being anything but a footballer.
Out on the field, Vogt is an experienced utility who’s been one of the Bombers’ most reliable players in the side’s inaugural year.
Ahead of her 25th AFLW game this weekend, Vogt’s versatility, presence and leadership in such a young side gives all the indications of someone who’s been practicing and perfecting football over an extended period of time.
Which is why it’s remarkable that all of this comes despite Vogt only first playing the game five years ago.
The 28-year-old hails from a soccer background, with the love of the round ball game incepted from a very early age.
“I grew up playing soccer, being of a European background, soccer was pretty strong throughout the family,” Vogt told Bonnie T & Maddy P podcast.
Vogt grew up in Gippsland, where she followed in her grandfather and brother’s footsteps and began kicking the soccer ball as soon as she could walk.
Despite a love for St Kilda and for AFL, no junior girls football talent pathways meant soccer was the only sport to play.
Commencing her soccer journey for Traralgon City, Vogt quickly found her passion and played for an all-girls team in the boys competition at Churchill where her natural talent shone through.
“I went through the junior pathways. I started representing Gippsland after Churchill and captained the team during my junior years,” Vogt said.
“From Gippsland, I then played for Victoria and went to the nationals which is where I got identified for the National Training Centre (NTC), which is equivalent to the VIS program.”
During high school, Vogt’s priorities and passion grew to pursuing a soccer career.
From year nine onwards, she would spend five days a week in Melbourne commuting from Traralgon.
Vogt was determined to become professional.
“I would get up and catch a bus at 7:30am in the morning to go to school in Warragul, then my dad would pick me up after school at 3:30pm and we’d go to Melbourne, then I would train and get home at 11pm, and then do it all again the next day.”
Even before she was 18 years old, Vogt had landed her dream job – a professional contract at W-League side Melbourne Victory.
From there, her sights were set on reaching international level, and her pathway into that became clear after attending the Young Matilda (Australian Women’s soccer side) camps.
“All of the current Matildas now, I went to the Young Matildas camp with them,” Vogt said.
Sadly, Vogt’s elite soccer career would end just before it was about to take off.
“Unfortunately, when I was 18, I did my ACL at Melbourne Victory training,” Vogt said.
“I rehabbed on my own that year and got myself back but didn’t get a Melbourne Victory contract again.”
With her soccer dreams over, the lifelong St Kilda supporter would soon begin a new chapter of her sporting chapter.
After attending the first ever AFLW game in 2017, Vogt had found her next goal.
“I’m super competitive and always want to get to the highest level of any sport,” Vogt said.
“I had always loved footy, but growing up there was no real pathway, so I didn’t take it up as a kid because I wanted to get to a really high level in sport, and there was nothing for footy at that time.”
Since finishing her soccer career, AFLW was on the rise, and Vogt could finally achieve her goals of playing at the highest level of any sport she’d participated in.
However, once again Vogt was struck with injury woes, tearing her meniscus in her first year signed with the Southern Saints, missing the entire season.
“It wasn’t until 2019 that I finally started to get into the thick of it,” Vogt said.
After starring for two years in the VFLW, Vogt’s professional dreams were realised again as she was promoted to the Saints’ AFLW list in 2021.
After two seasons and 17 games with St Kilda, Vogt made the move across to the NEC Hangar with fellow teammate Cat Phillips.
In her first year at Essendon, Vogt has only missed one game due to suspension and has been a vital member of the team.
“The move has been really good for me, a really good change. We’ve got a good bunch of girls here that have made it easier to transition,” Vogt said.
“I was pretty nervous to make the transition, it’s never easy to move clubs from somewhere you feel comfortable, but I’ve really embraced being outside of my comfort zone and I’ve just really tried to own that. It’s been amazing for me, I love it and I couldn’t speak more highly of the club.”