To reach the pinnacle it is never a straight line.
Rarely does one make it without confronting some form of adversity and often it is their resilience which defines a person’s ability to succeed in professional sport.
For Dylan Holmes her story of determination has seen her develop into one of Adelaide United Women’s most consistent players.
Born in the Brazilian metropolis of Sao Paolo, Holmes grew up playing football all across the world as a result of her father being a mining engineer.
She spent time in the United States, moved to Chile and Peru before her family called Adelaide home.
“I’ve been playing for as long as I can really remember,” Holmes said.
“My earliest memories were playing in the backyard with my dad and we moved around so much that luckily they play football everywhere.
“So I got to play wherever we moved and haven’t stopped.”
It was when Holmes found herself in the state system that she truly believed she had a realistic shot of making it as a footballer, provided she continued to work hard.
“When I was probably 17 and in the NTC program, I had a really good year and that was kind of when I realised that if I really wanted to play at the elite level I could if I worked really hard,” she explained.
“I kind of realised that I could do this at a high level if I really put my mind to it.”
Holmes experienced a taste of Westfield W-League football in 2014, featuring seven times before opting to move to the United States to further her studies and career.
She attended Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, but after a year there felt it was not for her and moved back home.
However, it would not be until three years later when she would get another crack with the Reds.
“I was lucky that I got to play so many games when I was really young and the next year I decided I wanted to go to college in the US,” she said.
“I did that for a year and it didn’t quite turn out the way I had hoped, so when I came back there were new coaches at Adelaide United and things had kind of changed a bit.
“So I had to work really hard to try and get back in into the squad, so it took me a couple of years.
“But when I got back in I knew how amazing the opportunity was and I wanted to make sure that I took full advantage.”
Her stellar form with Adelaide City in the Women’s National Premier League caught the attention of then Adelaide boss, Ivan Karlović, and joined the Club for her second stint ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
The rest as they say is history, as Holmes has played all available 24 matches across the previous two seasons.
The 23-year-old admitted she never really idolised any players growing up, but rather attributes her coaches over the years as having more of an influence in shaping her career thus far.
“Ivan’s had a huge impact on my career and I’ve learned so much from him and really grateful that he gave me that opportunity a couple of years ago to come back and be involved,” she said.
“I also have to mention Ross Aloisi and Paul Pezos, who gave me the opportunity when I was 17.
“They kind of gave me my first taste of what professional football looks like, and they believed in me at a really young age; so I think the three of them have had a huge impact on my career.”
After two fantastic years from a personal perspective, Holmes remains determined to improve and raise the bar even higher which is a testament to her character.
She is also desperate for team success and see strong performances now translate into positive results.
“On an individual level I just want to get better every time I step out onto the field,” she said.
“I want to learn from the games that I’ve played and try and push on and get better at the things I need to get better at.
“And at a collective level I want to win. I want to win trophies and I want to have success so that kind of drives me to keep pushing and work hard because you only get so much time playing football, you want to be as successful as you possibly can.”
Holmes is also hoping a consistent campaign can propel a move to Europe during the off-season.
She revealed it is an objective of hers and one that she is committed to fulfil before the end of her career.
“I’m definitely getting to the point in my life where I’m hopefully about to hit the prime of my career,” she stated.
“I feel like in 10 years’ time if I don’t try and pursue opportunities overseas that I might regret it, so I’m really aiming to have a strong W-League season this year and see where it takes me.”
Following several prominent departures from rival clubs during the off-season, with many Matildas transferring to Europe, Holmes thinks United’s stability can play in their favour.
She believed finals football will be a realistic target given the continuity in the squad that has been building over the last couple of years.
“I think this season the younger girls in our squad are starting to have a bit more confidence that they can really play well at this level,” she emphasised.
“And I think we have the advantage of having such a young core group that’s been together for the last two or three years that really knows how to play together.
“So I think last year we got some really good confidence even though we didn’t win as many games as we wanted to there were games that we probably should’ve won if we had of taken our chances.
“So I think that gives us belief that we’re capable of doing it and we do have the players especially the South Australian girls that can play at this level and do well, so I think we need to take that into this season and really push on.”