Tara Andrews: The women’s game struggle

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The F3 Derby, now known as the M1 Derby, was upon us on the weekend. Sydney FC are title contenders in every season of the W-League; they have a strong pool of players to choose from so it makes for a quality match in every clash.

The history between Sydney and Newcastle is one of the better rivalries on the results side for us. We always seem to pick up our game against Sydney as we are fighting for the bragging rights as the better team for our state.

I played with a few of the Sydney players in the Young Matildas team last year so I said a quick hello before the game and had a good chat after the game. A couple of them just started their HSC exams and so did two players from my team. For these girls, training loads are reduced to allow them to have a maximum amount of time to study.

This reminded me of the commitment and sacrifice we have for football. As everyone knows, women’s football can rarely be regarded as a full-time job as there is simply not enough money to support the players. This creates a need for girls to study have a full-time job outside of football or study towards a career they can have during football and in life after football.

I am currently studying civil engineering in my second year of university and a lot of girls are in the same boat, either studying or working full-time. This requires an impressive juggling act by women footballers to work or study while training every day to stay in tip-top shape and maximize their performance.

It’s hard to stay motivated when the only spare five minutes you have is when you’re sitting on the toilet. Sometimes you might feel tired and overrun and you just need a break, but football is an outlet for a lot of people to do something they love every day and take the edge off.

It’s getting to the pointy end of school and university with exams and assessments hanging around this time of year so the week may be stressful, but when game day comes around, it’s a bit of relief that we get to play, enjoy and forget everything else for half a day just to focus on the game.

So round five brought another home game for us on a day that reminded us that summer isn’t too far away. We started the game with 10 players because one of the girls was forced to change her socks from the referee… with the limited time we have, there is always time for those pre-game superstitions.

We got her back on the field a few minutes into the game; not such a good start but we managed to soldier on went into to the break with an unlucky 1-0 deficit due to a loose back pass followed by a clearance by the goalkeeper straight into the path of a flying striker pressuring the ball. It deflected off the striker towards goal who then easily tapped it in.

The second half showed our fight that we have had in previous games. We came out and had multiple chances but couldn’t quite get it into the back of the net, and a great performance from the Sydney’s keeper got them the game.

Another loss but hopes are we bounce back as we are so close from being a top team, and the round six clash against Western Sydney Wanderers is begging for a good solid performance from us.

Tara Andrews is a long-time striker and current vice-captain for the Newcastle Jets, despite only being 20 years old, who recently spent time with the Colorado Pride and has represented Australia internationally with the Young Matildas. She previously held the record for the most goals scored in a W-League match with four against Adelaide United. Keep up with Tara’s weekly blogs throughout the 2014/15 Westfield W-League season here.

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