Sydney FC are playing their first competitive match in the Liberty A-League this weekend against the Phoenix. It will be a historical clash against the team from Wellington who have played only two competitive matches. Sunday’s match will be the first meeting between the two sides in the competition.
Sarah Walsh is a pioneer for the Women’s game. She was an inaugural member of Sydney FC’s W-League side in the 2008/2009 season and captained the inaugural Western Sydney Wanderers FC Women’s squad in 2012. She has made over 70 appearances for the Matildas, scoring 31 goals, but what’s it like to be a part of a team in its first season in a competitive league? Sarah Walsh provides an insight.
“It was exciting to join Sydney FC because it was the first season of the W-League. So, that excitement and sense of pride of being in the inaugural League was shared with other teams across the League.”
“We had a solid squad at Sydney FC so with that, there were fairly high expectations to perform well. One of the most exciting things about being one of the inaugural teams, is that as players, you get the chance to create a new culture within the club. I enjoy watching Sydney FC now having been in that first ever team, because I can relate to the way in which the Women wear that Sky Blue shirt with pride.
“At the time we had a strong supporter base for Women’s football, so the creation of the league provided a platform for those fans to channel that energy and enthusiasm. As a team we fed off the excitement from our fans from day one, many of these fans are still there today.”
“I get enjoyment from watching the team play now, witnessing the important growth that’s taken place on and off the field. It continues to go from strength to strength, particularly with regards to the commercial interest for the League and Clubs, and importantly, the pay and conditions provided to players.”
“In terms of advice for the Phoenix team; enjoy being the first, embrace the expectations that come with being the first, and take the time to reflect on the Club culture you are helping create for future generations of fans and players to come.”