The 24-year-old, who featured for the Western Bulldogs this year in the first ever live broadcast of an AFL women’s game, paid a visit to the North Ballarat Rebels youth girls state academy on Monday night.
Ashmore provided a few words of wisdom to the girls before helping out with a training session.
She said the academy was an example of how far women’s football has come in a short space of time.
“It’s just great,” said Ashmore.
“If there was youth girls when I started playing, I would have done it. The future is really good – when I played at school (Mount Clear College), we couldn’t even fill a team some weeks.
“Footy needs it.”
Ashmore played with the North Ballarat Eagles before joining Melbourne University in the Victoria Women’s Football League premier division.
She has since played a number of exhibition games for both the Bulldogs and Melbourne.
Ashmore said the experience of playing at Etihad Stadium and being televised was a dream come true.
“I can’t even describe how it felt. I mean, it’s the best feeling ever,” she said.
“The Bulldogs and Melbourne are really into women’s footy – they’ve really kick-started it.”
The Rebels academy is yet another step towards further fostering women’s football talent.
There are 44 players in total in the academy, including 10 rookies, all of whom were selected from trial sessions and the Youth Girls shield games in September.
Academy coach Jeff Whittaker said the level of commitment from the girls had been excellent.
“For some of these girls, to come three hours to training, is just amazing,” Whittaker said.
“There are girls from Casterton, Hamilton, Warrnambool, Ararat, Horsham – all over the place.”
Whittaker was an assistant coach of Ashmore with the Bulldogs women’s team, but had already formed a connection with her through football some time ago.
He invited her down to the club to provide an insight into her pathway to the elite level.
Whittaker said Ashmore is a great example to the academy girls of the heights female players can reach.
“I suppose the girls now realise that there is a pathway,” he said.
“And I think people are starting to realise there is a market out there for women’s footy,” he said.
Both Whittaker and Ashmore said the hope still is to have a national competition by 2017.
In November, it was announced that there would be a Victorian state league competition, which is set to begin in 2016.