Cannon Clough loving life down under thanks rookie coach

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Brisbane Roar’s American import Cannon Clough is enjoying her debut professional season down under and it is all because of rookie coach Garrath McPherson.

The defender has played her way through the NPL since moving to Australia in 2019 and into a first professional contract with an A-League Women’s set up.

Clough has enjoyed her short time in the top flight, despite the Roar’s underwhelming season thus far, and it is in no small part thanks to the tireless work of her coach.

“I think he’s done such a great job, especially with the behind the scenes stuff, he handles a lot more than I ever thought a head coach would,” Clough said.

“The way he coaches and the way he analyses every single aspect of the game and our individual performances, it’s really cool to have a coach that cares that much.”

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McPherson’s dedication to his team has amazed the ALW rookie. McPherson himself is only in his first season as an ALW head coach but he, like his young team, is growing into the professional environment.

Clough believes McPherson has helped her develop as a footballer and a defender.

“I’ve learned quite a bit from Garrath, coming into the setup I thought that playing fullback was one way and it’s kind of turned into a completely different role but it’s been a very positive thing and I’ve learned a lot more about the one-v-one defending aspect of things,” she said.

“He’s kept a positive vibe throughout all the rough patches we’ve had and he’s done a great job, I think he’s only growing as a coach as well; which is cool to see.”

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Having played in the US NCAA Women’s competition through college, Clough has enjoyed the step up to the professional leagues.

Clough’s college experience gave her the preparation she needed to make the transition to a footballing life in Australia.

“[College] is very similar to the elite level; your sport is your job, it’s taken very seriously and it’s all you’re worried about, everyone’s just super competitive and wants to play so I think the [college] competition set me up to be ready for whatever my next step was,” she said.

“The college setup really prepared me for whatever was next and for me it was coming over here and playing in the NPL for a couple of seasons and now playing with the Roar.

“[The ALW] is what I originally wanted and kind of expected when I was coming over to Australia in the first place, it’s the level that I was seeking.”

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Despite Brisbane’s underwhelming season thus far finding them seventh on the ladder, Clough has still be enjoying her first professional experience.

“I’ve loved it,” she said.

“Obviously I would love to get a few more results than we have but it’s been a super positive experience for me like I’ve learned so much in the couple months we’ve been playing.”

Clough still believes that Brisbane have what it takes to become top contenders in the league.

“I think we’ll really have to dig that extra bit deeper but we’ve got the personnel, the skill and the heart to do so,” she said.

“It’s really important for us to get one result and then the next and then the next but we’re all really positive so I think it can happen.”

Whether that is this season or sometime in the future Clough has full confidence in her teammates.

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“Obviously, it depends on the individual needs of people and where football takes people but it’s been such a good group, especially personality-wise, and football-wise we’re quite good,” she said.

“It’s just the results, the little moments, if we can work on that I think we’ve got a bright future going forward.”

Feature image credit: Albert Perez

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Bill Hedley
Journalism under graduate at the University of Queensland. I have been a die-hard football player and fan for the past 16 years and am now a passionate multimedia Journalist, covering Brisbane Roar for the 2021/22 A-League season.

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