W-League: Wise words from experienced Pedersen

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20 years of professional football, 210 national caps and eight different clubs makes an experienced footballer; we are incredibly lucky to have her playing in our backyard.

The ‘her’ refers to Katrine Pedersen, the Danish superstar who, having travelled to each corner of Europe, now plies her trade in Adelaide for the Lady Reds. The 37-year-old is certainly one of the most significant signings in the W-League’s history, and it’s interesting to find out what it was about Australia that made her put ink on that old dotted line.

Image provided by Getty Images.

In an exclusive interview with The Football Sack, Pedersen said that coming to the land down under was a cracking decision for a number of reasons.

“For me, it’s a great experience to come to a new league where I don’t know all the opponents, and I’m playing with new teammates, and that’s always a challenge,” Pedersen said.

“[The W-League] is a very good league, I find the quality of the league very good,” she said.

It’s hard to argue with the midfielder on that point; the welcoming party at Adelaide alone includes England international Katie Holtham, Norweigan international Lisa-Marie Woods, Australian and England international Kristy Moore and Australian goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri.

But there are challenges for European footballers coming to play in Australia, particularly in the women’s league, and Pedersen herself had to put off touching these shores until she retired from her national duties.

“I’ve been on my way here a few of times before, but it hasn’t really fitted into the plan,” she said.

“I’ve had World Cup qualifications and European qualification and the seasons in Europe are longer… and you want to finish those of before you come here.”

In spite of this, she still says that players can continue their international careers whilst playing in Australia and that they shouldn’t be put off by the distance, claiming that coming to this land instead of having a winter break in Europe will benefit those who can squeeze it in.

The reason for this, Pedersen says, is: “The excellent quality of the league.”

Despite the heavy number of European talents playing for Adelaide United this season, it hasn’t all been easy sailing, and the Lady Reds find themselves in seventh place – only ahead of the languishing Western Sydney Wanderers.

Things may have started to come together on Sunday though, as they picked up their first win of the season against the highly-regarded Canberra United at McKellar Park in Canberra.

A few days before the game, Pedersen was asked what she wanted to do as the most experienced player in the squad to help turn around the team’s poor run of the results. She gave the perfect response.

“The one reason why I’m playing is because I love the game,” she said.

“I want people to come and watch us play and when they’re watching us play, they have to be able to see that this team loves to play.

“When we love the game, we play well… so bringing the joy back to the game is the important part,” she said.

If that’s what Pedersen and her European counterparts want to do for women’s football on this island, well that can be nothing but positive.

Fellow football lovers can see Pedersen and the Lady Reds on Saturday 25 October when they take on Perth Glory at Adelaide Shores Football Centre at 2:30 pm.

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