Brooks: Timing is key for W-League growth

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Adelaide United captain and US international Amber Brooks believes the W-League must find a way to fit into the growing women’s football dynamic without losing its best players.

Caitlin Foord became the fourth Australian to sign with a European club and adds to the growing list of W-League exodus last week.

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The 25-year-old joins Arsenal from Sydney FC and links up with Hayley Raso (Everton), Jacynta Galabadaarachchi (West Ham), Sam Kerr (Chelsea), Lisa De Vanna (Fiorentina), Alex Chidiac (Atletico Madrid) and Emily Gielnik (Bayern Munich) as part of a rising contingent of Matildas in Europe.

Brooks said the extended NWSL season and uncertainty surrounding the W-league calendar may have had an impact on players wanting to ply their trade in the league this year.

”It actually goes into the American preseason now and I know that eventually, the NWSL want to have a ten-month season,” she said.

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”I think if are going to start losing NWSL players and then if you’ve got the Matildas coach encouraging Australians to play in Europe and in a year-long competition this will make the timing tough.

”But I’m sure for the Australian players to play in their home country, there’s nothing better than that.

”Going forward, it’s something the W-League will need to sort out – all the leagues in the world seem to be improving so they have to keep up with each other to maintain the top talent.”

Brooks herself is a former Bayern Munich player who made 19 appearances for the German powerhouses over two seasons.

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She said Australian players strive to play in Europe more than American players who prefer to stay under the nose of US national team coaches in the NWSL.

”I can see where there are sides to the game that are more focused on development in Europe so I’m not surprised that Australian players go over,” she said.

”I think it’s a little bit harder for some of the leagues, certainly the English league for non-EU passport holders to play in.

”Being a Matilda or a known Australia player has its advantage there versus your average American player who isn’t going to be able to get a work visa in that league.”

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After a standout debut campaign with Adelaide, where she won the player of the year award, Brooks resigned for a second season and was given the captain’s armband.

She returned to the club on loan from Houston Dash in the NWSL where she has notched up 80 appearances in five years.

As for her own W-League future, Brooks still remains coy beyond this season, even though rest is a foreign concept to her.

She once played in the Frauen-Bundesliga, then jumped straight into the 2014 NWSL season with the Portland Thorns and then back to Germany again to play half a season with Bayern Munich.

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She gave little away about her future plans because she said she liked to take her football one season at a time.

“I’ve been very fortunate with how good my body is, I’m obviously just in my prime now so I think I will be able to keep pushing,” Brooks said.

“I’m not even sure what’s ahead of me heading into this NWSL season – it hasn’t been sorted yet so there’s a lot of questions but Ivan Karlovic does a great job keeping in touch with me even when I’m back in the States.

“We just chat football and life so regardless we will maintain that relationship going forward, evaluate where my mind and body are at then make a decision if it makes sense for me to return to the W-League and Adelaide.”

 Feature image credit: Adelaide United

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Euan James
Lover of all things football. Covering Adelaide United in 2019/20 for TFS!