Matildas midfielder Sally Shipard caught up wih the Girls FC ‘Fan of the Week’ Jess Cooper, and her sister Canberra United defender, Caitlin Cooper to find out about the unique bond has been experienced by the pair.
Sport is very powerful. It brings people together. On a global scale, it unites nations. On a personal note, it strengthens relationships with family and friends. This is enhanced even further by following the same team or playing the same game.
I feel it is fitting to mention a time when I was approached by a lady asking for a signature for her teenage daughter. They played football in the same team, even though the mother was in her late 30s and a relative novice to playing. They were able to connect through football. How uniquely special.
This unique bond has been experienced by Canberra United-s Caitlin Cooper and her older sister Jess. This week Jess Cooper was chosen as fan of the week. Her exuberant outfits and hilarious friends don the colours of Canberra United and travel to games whenever they can. Girls FC caught up with Caitlin to talk about how much her sister-s support means.
It must be great having support from your sister and her friends?
It-s fantastic that Jessica and the Stingray girls go to all the effort to dress up and make loud noises at our home games. The Canberra crowds this season have been great and having the girls- support is a great feeling.
What does it mean having them in the crowd cheering you on?
Not only are they cheering me on, but all the girls in the team. It just puts a little bit more into your game when you have that support. It-s always fun hearing Jessica and the Stingray girls yelling at us on the field. I have a little chuckle to myself with some of the things they say. It-s amazing.
Do you think football has brought you two closer?
Jessica and I have always been close, but football brought us even closer. It does cause fights sometimes if we get a little too competitive.
Did you start playing football because of Jess or the other way around?
I was actually playing rugby league until family friends got me into it. Jessica followed not long after.
Have you ever played together? If so when?
Yes, we played together a fair bit. Firstly, we played in the Wauchope Under 18s side. It was cool because at one stage my sister Sara was in the backline, I was in the midfield, and Jessica was upfront. If anyone ever tried to pick on me they were always backing me up as I was the youngest in the team. It was great. Also, Jessica and I played for Northern NSW together.
When you-re older do you think you will be playing in the same team again?
I wouldn-t say we-ll be running around on a football field. Maybe playing lawn bowls together, or something like that.
First, you must be proud of your sister?
Yes. She has always dreamt of playing football for Australia and sacrificed so much at a young age to reach those goals. I am proud of what she has done.
How much do you enjoy coming along to Westfield W-League games?
We sure love a good road trip. The Stingray (Illawarra) girls love a trip to Canberra to support our old team mates. A combination of everything makes it a good day. When it comes to supporting my sister and the Canberra United girls, the trip from Wollongong isn-t too bad. We all love to watch a good football match. Being able to see some of Australia-s best female footballers is also a highlight.
You play football yourself. What is it that you enjoy?
I have been playing soccer for many years. This will be my 6th year with the Illawarra Stingrays. I just love the team environment and playing with some of my best mates.
Your favourite thing about the Westfield W-League?
The W-League provides female footballers with the opportunity to represent their state and potentially their country.
Your favourite player?
I believe Canberra United has some of the best players going around. Michelle Heyman is a ‘bloody gun-. She is unstoppable and I admire how far she has come in such a short time. I also love how dominant and hard my sister is on the field. I admire players who are passionate about football and love showing support for the green machine! 🙂
Do you think football has brought you and Caitlin closer?
We played football from a young age and won many championships for our hometown club Wauchope. The best feeling is playing alongside Caitlin. We also went through representative soccer and nationals together. We are very competitive, but that-s probably why Caitlin has such a strong fighting spirit. She learnt everything from me, so whenever I watch her play I always give her some helpful hints. I love Caitlin. With or without football, she is my hero!!!
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