Melbourne Victory defender Alex Gummer shares with the PFA how she managed to juggle the demands of the W-League, completing an Engineering and Science Degree, work commitments and the invaluable support she received.

“I had to be very organised,” says Alex Gummer when asked about how she copped with such a demanding schedule. Organised would have been one of many qualities required as the Victory defender tried to cope with a schedule that included her football commitments, full-time study at Monash University, where she was undertaking a degree in Science and Engineering and worked to ensure she could make ends meet.

Speaking to the PFA during her lunch break, Gummer is now working for global specialty biotherapeutics company, CSL. The left back joined the company a little over six months ago after being appointed to a graduate role. Having undertaken such a gruelling schedule during her six plus years at University she says it was all worthwhile.

“I will be rotating through this department to ensure that all our products meet our safety standards so we can produce a good products that save peoples’ lives,” said Gummer. “It is a huge company that has offices all over the world and has a huge amount of growth potential and it is great to be part of a company that is so committed to saving peoples’ lives.”

In terms of commitment it seems CSL and Gummer are the perfect match. Since making her W-League debut in 2013, she has twice relocated interstate, where she enjoyed stints with Adelaide United and once to the United Kingdom, to play in the FA WSL with the Doncaster Rover Belles. Managing these moves and maintaining her studies has proved a challenge at times.

“I have studied across my entire time in the W-League. That involved studying via correspondence during my time in Adelaide and that was possibly one of the most challenging times as I didn’t really have any set classes to go to. I had to make sure I was very self-motivated and not having time with the lecturers and tutors when you were having trouble was tough, but in saying that I had a lot of help through Monash University. They are part of the Elite Athlete Friendly University program, which helps to support athletes manage their studies and their sporting commitments.

“I had to be very organised. Sometimes I left halfway through a semester and because I was doing a science based subject, and engineering can be very practical in nature, I needed to plan in advance to be able to sit my laboratories before I left as that is not something you do via correspondence.”

With all PFA Members being able to access the Elite Athlete Friendly University to assist with their studies, Gummer said it had been hugely beneficial.

“When I had the opportunity to go and play in Adelaide I just asked the question. I knew they were part of the Elite Athlete Friendly University and I knew I was on the program but I didn’t really know how much they could help. After I spoke to them I realised how much they could help. They helped me to reschedule assessments when I needed to, due to football, and really helped in so many ways.”

With the W-League players’ currently in talks over the league’s first ever Collective Bargaining Agreement, Gummer said greater support for players to assist them in pursuing professional development away from football would be hugely beneficial.

“I recently completed the PFA’s C-Licence coaching course and to have their support financially to cover the costs was great. The payment for the W-League is not enough to get you by. I often had to work in addition to playing and full-time study to make ends meet. If we could get a little more support it would make things a lot easier.”

For those looking to pursue development away from football Gummer has some simple advice – persevere.

“There is going to be sacrifice. You also have to be extremely organised and you can ask for help. If you are organised and know what you need from someone else, sometimes it might get tough but keep preserving and eventually it will pay off.”

For more information on the assistance the PFA can provide to members looking to pursue study or other professional development please contact your Player Development Manager or PFA Player Development Executive Shannon Beck via