After two years in Perth, Alana Jancevski has joined Adelaide United to embark on the next chapter of her promising career. Ahead of the new season, Jancevski discusses her move and career so far with aleagues.com.au’s Nick D’Urbano.
If you aren’t aware of what Alana Jancevski is capable of in and around goal, then you haven’t been paying attention.
Whether it’s a free-kick, volley, long-range pile driver or a simple tap-in, defenders know they must prepare for the worst when Jancevski has even the smallest window to fire.
It’s a natural ability that not many players in the A-Leagues possess and it’s one of many reasons why Adelaide United’s newest attacker has the ability to be one of the most dangerous players in the entire competition.
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“That really started from when I was a kid,” Jancevski tells aleagues.com.au about her long-range shooting.
“I’ve always watched a lot of football or always been on YouTube watching goal videos or skill videos and like some players I watch… (Philippe) Coutinho or (Steven) Gerrard or Dennis Bergkamp and players like that I’ve grown up just really loving watching, especially (Luis) Suarez as well.
“I just try to add that to my game anywhere I can and really just be creative and have fun.
“I think I always have that little Alana inside me when I play and I just try and have as much fun as I can. I think that shows with the long-range strikes or cheeky flicks or things like that.
“I think that allows me to be the best player that I can be and I think being in this environment all the players and coaches have celebrated that and it’s always been the one environment where it’s fully encapsulated and it allows me to have that freedom within the structure that we have.”
The goal that stands out above the rest in her short career was a stunning long-range free-kick against Western United in Ballarat while playing for her former team Perth Glory last season, which was awarded Liberty A-League Goal of the Month in February.
It was this strike that truly encapsulated Jancevski’s incredible ball-striking ability, which gave former Western keeper Hilary Beall next to no chance of stopping her strike.
Jancevski had arrived in the A-Leagues and we quickly learned that what usually follows a goal is an equally great celebration.
In the ensuing seconds after the ball nestled in the back of the net, Jancevski wheeled away and gestured to the crowd with a phone to her ear – paying homage to Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus and none other than Dwight Schrute from the US iteration of The Office.
“I’m always trying to have fun and I think celebrating your goals is something especially for attackers, your role in teams to score, help teams score,” she said.
“So I always like to have fun with it and I’ve always tried to do celebrations, and I guess that one has just come through watching players do it like (Gabriel) Jesus from Arsenal has done it and also watching The Office and a bit of fun with my family and friends with that one.
“We might see some different celebrations this year.”
As to what those new celebrations may be?
“I reckon it’s a little bit of a surprise, but it might be a little bit more fun and crazy!”
Jancevski speaks to aleagues.com.au shortly after joining the Reds from Glory, where she spent her first two seasons of senior football and scored five goals in 25 appearances.
In between seasons, Jancevski tore it up with FC Bulleen Lions in NPLW Victoria, helping spearhead their push for the premiership, playing alongside fellow Liberty A-League talents Beattie Goad, Paige Zois and TJ Vlajnic, to name a few.
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She was the side’s top scorer, despite not playing until mid-season, scoring 13 goals in 20 games in all competitions.
At times, she was borderline unplayable and she’s arriving in Adelaide with plenty of wind in her sails following such an impressive few months at the Veneto Club.
With the Reds parting ways with Fiona Worts and Chelsie Dawber over the last 12 months, positions in the Adelaide attack are there for the taking, paving the way for the ultra-talented attacker to truly make her name in the Liberty A-League.
“Choosing Adelaide became an easy decision for me,” she said.
“When I spoke to Adrian (Stenta) for the first time, the vision he had for the team and the style he wanted to play really suited me as a player.
“Being that really technical footballer who wants to see that shine throughout the style of play. It really enticed me to join Adelaide, and settling in, so far, it’s been everything I hope it’d be
“I’m really loving the environment, and I think it’s really celebrating me as a player and allowing me and my football to shine.”
Throughout her two seasons at Glory, Jancevski was never really able to nail down a spot in the starting XI, playing primarily as a substitute behind the likes of Cyera Hintzen and Rylee Baisden.
Her first season came in a year that Perth were forced to be on the road for much of the campaign due to COVID-19 enforced border closures in Western Australia, before making further strides in year two as she was granted more opportunities in Alex Epakis’ side.
But now, she’s ready for her next challenge and is confident those experiences in WA will hold her in good stead as she embarks on her next chapter.
“I definitely threw myself in the deep end,” she said.
“Since that move, it’s always been trying to get myself in an environment where I can grow the most and I feel very grateful for that experience.
“I learned a lot about myself and how strong and tough I am. I had a great support system around me, and I’m thankful for those people around me that helped me see what I’m capable of and also tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.
“It’s important to have those people around you to help you get through those times, but I really learned a lot about how much potential I have and how capable I am if I really put my mind to it and have that sort of hunting mentality to get what I want.
“That’s what I’ve taken with me through NPL and into this season and I really want take my football into the next step with that experience that I have gained.”
Despite only a relatively short time in the A-Leagues, Jancevski has been a familiar name in Australian football circles for quite some time.
A teenage Jancevski was part of the ABC documentary – ‘KICK!’ – which detailed six players’ aspirations to make the big time, including Zois, Glory attacker Sofia Sakalis, Matildas star Kyra Cooney-Cross, former Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City midfielder Nia Stamatopoulos and Heidelberg United’s Miette Giorgio (who helped produce the show too).
Jancevski was playing for Victoria’s NTC program at the time, a period where she was called-up to the Junior Matildas in 2018-19, scoring a memorable goal against Thailand.
She had previously played for Bundoora United, where she was part of the boys teams up until the age of 12, which was when she joined NTC. The attacker also earned train-on status with Melbourne Victory during her five years in the NTC program, before eventually making the move to Perth in 2021.
The documentary gave her exposure to the rigours of what being a professional is all about, which has helped with the transition from junior to senior football.
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“I’ve had a great experience with them (Kick Talent Management, the agency she’s now a part of) since I was about 12 years old,” Jancevski said.
“It’s been eight years; that a really key relationship in my footballing and personal life, and I think with that experience it taught me, there’s different parts of the game, and you have to be prepared to do media and do the things that people don’t expect you have to do.
“It allowed me to grow not only in that aspect, but my mentality and it allowed me to mature and just instil the confidence I have as a player and allowed people to see the true Alana.
“Since then, it’s just allowed me to further grow and continue to have that discipline, keep celebrating things that are important, but also staying humble and really appreciating what you have.”
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Fast forward back to now and Jancevski believes she’s ready to truly take the next step in her football evolution.
While the first two years at the highest level have been about finding her feet, now she has a clear vision in mind to show the competition that she can become one of the league’s most potent attackers.
“The main one for me is to become a player that the team relies upon and someone that can really stamp their foot in the starting XI and stay there and really have an impact,” Jancevski said.
“I think I have the potential to do so and really help the team as an attacker and score and assist a lot.”