New recruit Leah Blayney is preparing for this weekend’s match against Melbourne Victory in what should have been her Canberra United debut. However events transpired to hand the midfielder a start sooner than expected.
New recruit Leah Blayney is preparing for this weekend-s match against Melbourne Victory in what should have been her Canberra United debut. However events transpired to hand the midfielder a start sooner than expected.
Blayney flew with the United squad to Brisbane prior to Christmas to get a feel for the squad and meet her team mates before watching the top-of-the-table clash with league leaders Brisbane Roar. However, with Emily Van Egmond coming down ill in the warm-up it was all systems go for Blayney to take a place amongst the substitutes.
“I knew going up to Brisbane that I was just travelling up to watch the game and get a feel for what the level was like and how the team plays together,” Blayney said.
“I was actually sitting in the grandstand and towards the end of the warm up Emily ran over feeling ill and Ray said ‘chuck a jersey on!- In a flurry down in the training rooms we found some kit and there I was on the bench! I would definitely never say no to going on and I was really excited, the adrenalin was pumping and the possibility of playing and coming on overtook my thoughts of already training that morning and not eating appropriately, but I was on a high when I went on.”
Blayney played for Sydney FC during the first season of the Westfield W-League before taking a sabbatical to play the USA so is in a good position to judge the quality of the Season Three edition of the flagship Women-s competition.
“The standard was very good. Since I-ve been back it-s been really exciting to see how Women-s football has grown in Australia and I think coming on against Brisbane was an ideal game for me to come on as they, along with Sydney FC, have some the best players in the country. So it was great to get a feel for what it was like,” she commented.
Her stint in the States coincided with dual awards as North East Conference Player of the Season in 2009, followed by being voted WPSL East Player of the Year in 2010, something of which Blayney is justifiably proud.
“As a player I just matured. With everything that I was taught by coaches in Australia, combined with what I learnt over in the USA, it all just came together. It-s been a combination of previous experiences in Australia combined with coaching over there and a high level of training intensity. I trained with the Boston Breakers all summer and the WPS is arguably the best league in the World. I trained for three months there so hopefully there are some benefits!”
Since returning to Australia Blayney, who calls Wentworth Falls, NSW, her home, has settled into life in Canberra working alongside her new team mates.
“I-m really enjoying my time in Canberra. The players have been very welcoming and I-m enjoying working under Ray. The club has been good to me and I-m excited for the next four games. I wish I could have been here for the full season! I would say I-m fairly dynamic player, very attacking minded, a bit creative and I think my best asset is that I-m very sharp and pretty fit. I would hope I can also get a goal!”
Canberra United travels to Melbourne on Saturday 8th January to play the Melbourne Victory with kick off at 3pm with the match being broadcast LIVE on ABC1.