Helping people is part of the makeup of Bryleeh Henry.

It’s part of the reason why the Melbourne City attacker divides her time away from the football field with What Ability – a disability support service that utilises professional and semi professional athletes as support workers.

“It’s probably coming up to almost a year of being with them now,” Henry tells

“One of the other girls at City last year, Tori Tumeth, she was doing a bit of work with them and I saw a bit of it on social [media].

“I like that sort of line of work helping people. It’s the stuff I like to do. So then I reached out to her on how to join up… so I sent an email and then I went in and did all the certifications and courses and just went from there.

“I’m a casual support worker. It’s basically just taking a different participant each time you have a job, so it could be anyone and it’s just taking them out wherever they want to go. If they need to do groceries, you can take them to the grocery shop, or if they want to go to the park.

“It’s  just about being a friend for them, so just someone to hang out with for the day. For younger kids, to give their parents a break and let them have some fun and get away from all the stuff they have to do at home.”

The genesis of Henry’s support for others originates from her family, but also is a window into what she wants to do when she steps away from the game.

“It comes a lot from my my parents and my family,” she said.

“When I finish playing soccer I want to be a police offer, it’s what my dad and my sister do, so it sort of runs in my family.

“I love being involved and I guess playing soccer you have that camaraderie of a team, sort of a one unit kind of thing and I think What Ability is the same as that.

“It’s a group of people, there’s always places to meet up with the other kinds of sport workers but other participants you have as well so I think sort of being a family but then you’re helping people on the outside as well is the sort of thing I like to be around.

“It’s very rewarding, to see them smiling, a lot of them have the struggles that they do, have to deal with at home in everyday life, which a lot of us don’t have to do we’re very lucky.

“So be able to take them out and even the simplest things like going for a walk or a walk in the park is things they can’t do every single day so to see them smile and be happy with that, I think it’s really rewarding and brings you a lot of joy. I think it makes you very grateful about what you have as well.

“You’re there to be a friend to someone who maybe doesn’t have that everyday in their life and I think there’s nothing more rewarding than helping someone and putting a smile on their face. It’s a great company as well.

“They run everything really, really well. The people, they’re absolutely amazing. I think it gives you a real new perspective on life and you have a lot of respect for what they do there.”

Henry is one of several A-Leagues players involved in What Ability, including her former teammate, Tumeth, Sydney FC’s Lucy Johnson and Melbourne Victory’s Alex Chidiac.

And there have been others who have reached out to Henry to get involved as well.

“Actually quite a few of the girls have asked about it and about joining up and I encourage it,” she said.

“It works really well with football. It’s flexible, which is something that I guess footballers need. It’s rewarding as well and it’s fun. So a lot of the girls actually asked to go and I think quite a few more will join up in the offseason.”

The work has also helped Henry step away from the rigours of football, and give herself a bit of a much needed outlet.

“It’s something completely different,” she said. “If you’re in football all the time you get a bit obsessed and maybe you can get tired and worn out. You just forget about football for a minute and have some fun.”

However, her focus on the field now turns to the A-League Women’s finals series, after playing a role in winning City’s first Premiership since 2020.

Her side secured the Premiership on the final day of the season, leapfrogging Sydney FC into first place on the ladder with a win over Perth Glory.

Now, a two-legged affair against a red-hot Newcastle Jets side awaits for a spot in the Grand Final against the Sky Blues or Central Coast Mariners.

“We couldn’t have left it any more last minute than we did,” she said.

“I’m excited. I think we’re all itching to play. It’s been maybe two and a half, three weeks since we last played, but it feels like it was a season ago that we last played. The vibes have been really, really good at training.

“We’re all excited to get started and the way they’re doing the finals this year is also exciting. So I think everyone’s excited about that too.”

Henry has had a front row seat to the groundswell of support in the competition, off the back of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The 2023-24 campaign was the most attended season of any women’s sport in Australian history, with 284,551 fans piling through the gates.

“It’s been awesome,” she said.

“I think back to when wouldn’t even get even get a couple of people in the crowd watching games to now having packed out stadiums, even if it’s the littler stadiums, it creates that atmosphere and I think it’s good to show that women’s football can be like the men’s.

“It’s really exciting to be a part of that change and starting to build which hopefully is only going to go up from here.

“It also prepares players for if they want to go overseas or play national teams where you’re going to play in front of big crowds. So to start playing in front of them now gives young players and any age player that experience which is really, really good.

“It’s good for the A-League as well because the bigger crowds we get here, the more money, the more support we get here… We want to draw bigger players here and hopefully keep a lot of our players here rather than losing more overseas, which would be great to have this league only become stronger and everyone can stay here.”

A full home and away season – which was implemented for the first time in the competition’s history – also gave Henry the much needed time to recover from an early season knee injury.

In previous years, a two month injury could have sidelined her for the majority of the season. This time around, she was only unavailable for six of the 22 rounds.

Her return since then has seen her become a key fixture in the City lineup, especially in the run-in to finals where she’s started the last five games, playing as a right-back.

And the two-time Matilda’s performances could be key down the stretch as they chase the double in the weeks ahead.

“That would be awesome,” she said about winning the double.

“Winning the Premiership is obviously a really big thing it shows… the consistency of a team but even that went down to the wire, but I think the Championship is the one that everyone really, really wants to win.

“So we have our eyes on the double I guess. It would suck to go out only winning the Premiership and then play the finals and not win the double. So I think everyone wants to win that and two medals is better than one!”