To celebrate 10 seasons of the Westfield W-League, we chat with Adelaide United Women Captain, Emma Checker, about the growth of the competition and suggests what she would like to see in the future.
Adelaide United Women Captain, Emma Checker, says the Westfield W-League has taken huge strides forward and will only continue developing.
Checker admitted the league has certainly changed from when she made her Westfield W-League debut for the Reds in the 2011/12 season.
After two years with Adelaide, the centre-back spent two seasons with Melbourne Victory and a further two at Canberra United before returning home.
“I think it’s a pretty big comparison to be honest looking back,” she said.
“The support staff that we have now within the team and the access we have to different facilities and strength and conditioning coaches, physios, the medical side of things has really stepped up.
“And the way we are treated as a group and as professionals has really ramped up so I think in terms of professionalism we have come a long way.”
Checker admitted the league has evolved considerably and that the success of the Westfield W-League and Matildas are mutually dependent.
“Well the standard of the league has just grown dramatically,” she said.
“And I think if you look at how the Matildas are going at the moment and their success rate I think that’s shown within the W-League as well.
“Whilst I think the league has always been of a reasonable standard we are really raising the bar now.
“And in saying that we are attracting world class players from overseas who really want to be a part of our league and I think that shows the growth that we have had.”
September’s landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement – the first seen in the Westfield W-League – is further proof of progress.
“It’s been a massive step up and something that we have needed to have done for a while now,” Checker explained.
“And I think the exciting thing is moving forward we have now got our base and that’s the bottom line and now we don’t fall below it.
“And the exciting thing is we are moving up and stepping up in the ranks and now we all just have to hope to continue growing in that way.”
The 21-year-old embarked on a new adventure during the off-season last year, plying her trade with South Korean outfit Incheon Red Angels.
Checker said there were a number of differences in styles between the two leagues.
“I think it’s hard to compare, but for me I found that they’re just very different leagues,” she said.
“And the strengths of players over in Korea are very different to those in Australia.
“I found in Korea it’s a very skilful game and the ball does a lot of the work so their first touch is unbelievable and their skills on the ball are world class.
“Whereas in Australia we are much more physically dominant and we are much more athletic so I think the style of the league is very different in that sense.”
Checker said she wishes at some stage down the line the competition can become completely professional.
“It’d be great to have a home and away season I think and really become a fully professional league,” she continued.
“I think that for me that would be ideal and I’d love to see that happen whether or not that’s in my time or in the next generation’s time.
“I think that would be really exciting and like I was talking about before with where the Matildas are standing at the moment it goes to show what we are capable of as a country.
“And I think we can really turn this league into something special.”
Adelaide United host Brisbane Roar in Round 13 of the Westfield W-League 2017/18 season on Sunday, 28 January at Marden Sports Complex.
FFA, in consultation with all key stakeholders, has taken the decision to delay the kick-off due to the expected high temperatures forecast for Sunday in Adelaide. Kick-off is now 6pm.