Wests women up for challenge
Premier grade beckons
Western Suburbs Soccer Club’s women’s team have reached the peak and now it’s all about staying there.
The current version of the team began in 2010 and, since starting in the bottom division, have been promoted each year.
This season they will kick off in the Capital premier grade and had begun their pre-season training with confidence, captain Liz Oliver said.
‘‘We’ve had our first training session and it was tough,’’ she said.
‘‘But we know what has to be done this year, so we’re putting in the work. It’s a new division and we don’t know what to expect, but we know it will be fast and there will be more strategy needed.’’
In Kirk McPherson, Oliver said they had a coach who understood women’s football and had a vision for the way they should play.
Oliver said the nucleus of the team were friends who played together at Aotea College. But organising their own training and tactics could get them only so far.
‘‘We were doing our best and doing it well, getting results,’’ she said.
‘‘But now we’re going up a level and Kirk has a lot to do with that.’’
Oliver said the ties with the Wests club and Ole Football Academy were getting stronger.
Skill, the right attitude and team atmosphere were the keys to their success, she said.
‘‘We’re more than a team of footballers – we’re friends, and that comes through. The midfield is strong and creative, the backline works well, and we score some great goals.’’
Oliver said Michelle Russell would be called upon again to score hatfuls of goals and centre half Gaby Peach, last season’s players’ player award-winner and MVP, was an amazing asset for Wests.
Brooklyn Northern, Stop Out and Victoria University would probably be the teams to beat, Oliver said.
Support on the sidelines for their Sunday afternoon matches was at least on a par with their male counterparts, she said.
‘‘You look at the likes of North Wellington, Petone or Tawa – the support is amazing and they bend over backwards to welcome you into the clubrooms. It’s great.’’
One or two additions will be required before the start of the campaign and a shirt sponsor, too.
Fees aren’t cheap and with tracksuits and gear, fundraising was necessary, Oliver said.
The Wests women train Tuesday and Thursday nights from 7pm till 9pm, on the football field below Kenepuru Dr.
Prolific Wests goal-scorer Michelle Russell, in red, in action against Upper Hutt.