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Canberra United Football Club was a founder member of the Westfield W-League upon its formation in 2008.


Canberra United Football Club was a founder member of the Westfield W-League upon its formation in 2008.

The team immediately became unique in the competition as being the only squad not to be affiliated to a mainstream Hyundai A-League franchise. This didn-t stop the club from attracting a wealth of talent in that first season though with Matildas internationals Caitlin Munoz, Lydia Williams, Rhian Davies, Hayley Crawford and Thea Slayter some of the first to sign up with inaugural Head Coach Robbie Hooker. Hooker sprung a surprise therefore when, with a wealth of international experience, he chose young stopper Ellie Brush as the first club captain, a position the formidable defender has held throughout the club-s existence, latterly in co-ownership with Williams. United ended the first season of the Westfield W-League in third place and defeated Newcastle Jets 1-0 in the semi-final, thanks to a goal from Kara Mowbray, to progress to the Grand Final. There United ran out of puff and were beaten 2-0 by Queensland Roar.

The following year, Season Two, saw Hooker replaced as Head Coach by Ray Junna a former coach of ACTAS and the AIS. Junna had to deal with a major turnover of playing staff with the squad taking on a more youthful focus. In came youngsters Emily Van Egmond and Kahlia Hogg alongside dual football-cricket international Ellyse Perry and Chinese Taipei duo Tseng Shu-O and Chiung Ying Lin. Once again Canberra United was to be an effective unit finishing fourth on the ladder to qualify for the semi-finals. A strong Sydney FC team proved a step too far though winning 3-0 despite having a player sent off early on.

Junna stayed on as Head Coach for Season Three and the continuity certainly seemed to benefit the team once more. A raft of new signings was headlined by the arrival Westfield W-League Player of the Year and Golden Boot Winner Michelle Heyman from Central Coast Mariners alongside defender Caitlin Cooper. Leah Blayney came in from a stint in the USA, in time for a late season flurry of matches, whilst local talent such as Sally Rojahn, Grace Field and Georgia Yeoman-Dale were given the chance to prove themselves at the top level. Buoyed by the goals of Heyman, United finished the season strongly and ended the year in third place behind Brisbane Roar and league Champions Sydney FC to qualify for the semi-finals for the third successive year where, after an epic semi-final with Brisbane Roar which ended 2-2, United was beaten on penalties.

Junna stepped down from Canberra United activities at the end of Season Three to concentrate on his work with the ACTAS program paving the way for United to introduce the first overseas coach into the league with the announcement of the signing of Jitka Klimkova from the Czech Republic for Season Four. Klimkova led United to League glory in her first season at the club as the green team saw off Brisbane Roar 3-2 in the Grand Final, going through the entire season unbeaten. They were however unable to repeat the feat the following year as the club missed out on finals for the first time in their history.

The departure of Klimkova to take up an opportunity with the New Zealand FA opened the door for Elisabeth Migchelsen to take over the reigns and in her first season the team claimed the League Championship title, finishing a point clear of Sydney FC. There was to be no repeat Grand Final heroics though as Brisbane Roar ended the season at the semi-final stage with a 2-1 win at McKellar Park. Migchelsen was to have her revenge a year later however as Canberra secured their second Westfield W-League championship. Needing to win on the final day of the season a wonder goal from Ashleigh Sykes helped defeated league champions Perth Glory 2-1 at Viking Park before a nerve-shredding semi-final win over Melbourne Victory on penalties set up a rematch with Perth in Western Australia. Goals from Stephanie Ochs and a Sykes brace gave United the crown with a 3-1 win sealing their second title.

Season 8 saw Rae Dower take over as Head Coach after the departure of Migchelsen and the team welcomed several new signings including Mexican international midfielder Veronica Perez. The introduction of heavyweights Melbourne City to the competition added extra edge and Canberra eventually ended the campaign second on the ladder, ten points behind Champions City. A controversial semi-final defeat to Sydney FC at McKellar Park curtailed their season at the last four stage.