Baisden hopes Roar contract inspires NPL players

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Brisbane Roar’s new signing Rylee Baisden has made an impact since arriving in Australia and has the W-League contract to prove it.

The 24-year-old American ran rampant in her first season.

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She netted 33 goals to win the NPL Queensland’s golden boot, was named in the league’s team of the season and secured a player of the year nomination as part of her Moreton Bay United team’s run to a maiden grand final appearance.

Despite her experience following a successful US college career and stints in Sweden and France, the striker said she was not expecting to have such a dominant season in her first year down under.

“I’ve definitely always wanted to come to play (in Australia), so coming here and kind of making my mark has exceeded all of my expectations,” Baisden said.

“It’s been a good learning experience for me.

“There’s quality in the NPLW and I think Australian football is really growing on the women’s side and that’s just exciting for me as an American girl seeing soccer grow all over the world.

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Baisden will be joined at the Roar this season by another NPL QLD player in Logan Lightning’s Claire Farrington, who secured a contract at the Roar’s pre-season trial which included almost 40 NPL players.

“I do think the trialling feeding from the NPLW into the W-League is a brilliant scheme,” Baisden said.

“I think it’s encouraging for all the girls to know there is an opportunity to be able to trial and not just get into a W-League team because you’ve played for a national team or have this or that accolade.”

Baisden believes there is more untapped potential in the NPL across Australia and hopes the Roar’s signing of the NPLW duo will inspire more second division players across Australia to aim for the top level.

“I hope people don’t think just because you’re in the NPL or NPLW that that’s as good as it’s going to get,” she said.

“I hope some of us breaking that barrier encourages more girls in the NPLW to do the same.

“Sometimes girls don’t want to play at the next level or think they definitely aren’t good enough, but I mean, there’s quality in both the second division and the first division as well.

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Baisden said the quality and competitiveness of the NPL was growing each year and believed more American players could benefit from playing in Australia.

“I think coming out of university in the States and coming over here to the NPLW is a perfect first thing if people don’t get drafted straight away,” she said.

“It’s a good stepping-stone and it’s competitive. I think it’s just as competitive as in the States and in Sweden or France.”

Ahead of the beginning of her first W-League season, Baisden said she was determined to make an impact in the same way she did at Moreton Bay.

“As a player and as a teammate, on and off the field, I’m planning on just coming in and being relentless and showing a bit of grittiness and heart,” she said.

“That’s as much as I want to do this year, and to obviously put a few in the back of the net would be great as well.”

Feature image credit: Brisbane Roar

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Mathew Perry
Mathew Perry
Former snowmaker, TomTom salesman and subpar barista giving sports journalism a whirl. QUT Journalism student covering Brisbane Roar FC in the A-League and W-League.

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