Clare Wheeler is a self confessed TV and movie lover. Does that mean she’s a couch potato – far from it!

In fact, the 20 year old Newcastle Jets midfielder is currently into her second year of a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Sydney and also undertaking an internship at Newcastle City Council as part of PFA’s Beyond the 90 program on top of her football commitments. All of this and she still manages to fit in time to watch a movie or TV series.

“I definitely love watching movies! Not bragging but in my recent days of down-time I may have watched three seasons of Brooklyn 99 in three days and there is 23 episodes per season,” says Wheeler smiling.

Wheeler is proof that juggling football, study, work and leisure can be done, which includes allowing more than enough hours in the day for the life necessities of eating and sleeping. Her secret? Three simple ingredients – preparation, time management and knowing yourself. They are hardly ground breaking concepts but the key seemingly comes down to implementation and a degree of discipline.

“I’m a lover of television but it honestly comes down to being prepared, having good time management and knowing yourself,” said Wheeler.

“Being prepared means not leaving things until the last minute. Know what you have to do by when, know what you should bring and prepare and know how sport may impact your studies.

“Secondly, time management entails multi-tasking and scheduling your day so that it balances your sport, social and study life equally.

“Finally, and arguably the most important thing is knowing yourself! I’m not someone that has an hour by hour study plan, I simply know that between certain times, usually later in the day, I will do some homework and my mood is a large determiner on what subjects I will do and this works for me.”

Whether it is study or sport or both, one of the most difficult aspects for teenagers and young people aspiring to excel is the temptation of those natural outside influences such as wanting to go to parties, spend the weekends down at the beach or in front of the TV.

For Wheeler, she knows there will be times she will have to miss out on certain things. However, she has set up her lifestyle and time in a way that she is not completely depriving herself from having down time while still maintaining her focus and ambition towards achieving her football and career goals.

“I’m a big believer that you can balance social, sport and study, however, you must keep in mind that the more you try to satisfy one, the more you pull away from the others,” explains Wheeler.

“As the cliché goes, ‘nothing great ever comes without sacrifice’ and it is true. There will be occasions that you will miss out on a fun night with friends or some hours studying for a big exam because you had training, but if you have exercised good preparation, time management and self-knowledge then your goals will still be clear and attainable whilst juggling social, sport and study.”

Wheeler also has a special bit of advice for fellow players and movie lovers or video game enthusiasts that may struggle to pull themselves away from the screen when it comes to study.

“If you have study or an assignment you need to get done, do it in a library. This makes you less likely to watch Netflix and more focused on the task at hand.”

Wheeler’s decision to undertake an internship at Newcastle City Council came about from a desire and interest to get involved in a public organisation with a community focus.

She said the council ticked many of the boxes including providing a meaningful link to her studies, while there is also another relevant connection with Newcastle City Council a proud sponsor of the Newcastle Jets’ W-League squad.

“It means a lot to not only work for a generous sponsor of our W-League team but also for a council who shapes the community I have lived in for over a decade,” said Wheeler.

“It builds a deeper sense of pride for the badge I wear come game-day.”

Without the PFA’s assistance through its Beyond the 90 program, which provides valuable work experience, skills, contacts and insight into a new career or industry, Wheeler believes it would have been extremely difficult to secure her internship.

“My availability is poor considering the numerous training sessions I attend throughout the week, which would undoubtedly see me not considered for internship roles through traditional channels,” said Wheeler.

“However, through the PFA my work placement at the council was fit to my schedule. This allowed me to juggle both simultaneously, without each one adversely affecting the other.

Wheeler has lived in Newcastle since the age of eight, her football journey starting two years later when she joined Adamstown Rosebuds.

She is one of the region’s brightest young football prospects having emerged from the Emerging Jets program to becoming a regular in the Jets’ W-League side, while she has also played for the Young Matildas.

A talented footballer with a wise head on young shoulders, Wheeler has a promising career both on and off the field in front of her. Knowing what you want in life is half the battle but the other significant part is how to go about it. A sense of gratitude also plays a part. If this is the case, Wheeler is well on her way.

“I have nothing holding me back but myself,” said Wheeler.

“Knowing I have the capability to achieve everything I want, I just have to put in the hours of work, whilst there are people in Australia and beyond that do not have what I have whether this is physically, emotionally or financially.

“With everything I do, I inherently love it and I know it is a privilege that I’m able to witness, participate and learn.”