Could the next generation of Western Sydney Wanderers, or even Matildas or Socceroos, be hiding away in Orange?
If you ask the Wanderers’ reigning Westfield W League player of the year Jada Whyman, absolutely.
The red and blacks’ boom goalkeeper was on hand at Orange’s St Mary’s Catholic Primary School on Wednesday morning, and at Mudgee earlier in the week, to run some community clinics and pump up the franchise’s Hyundai A League clash at Mudgee later this year.
She said, based on what she saw, there’s certainly plenty of talent in the colour city.
“For sure,” the 18-year-old enthused.
“It’s amazing seeing how much talent there is out here and seeing all these kids get involved, the kids love seeing the clubs come out here.”
Originally from Wagga Wagga, the Young Matilda has been a tireless ambassador for the franchise and has acted as a role model and mentor for Indigenous footballers all over the country.
She said that passion for community engagement partly comes from the fact she grew up in an Australian rules heartland.
“I never had a football club come out to my area, it was always AFL and rugby league,” she explained, also highlighting a passion for growing the women’s game in particular.
“The Matildas are doing great on the world stage and that’s only helping the W League improve as well, making it a better league and also get people to notice what we’re doing I guess.
“It helps get more girls involved too, which is great, it’s fantastic to see so many girls coming out and just giving it a go at the schools. You know, girls that aren’t playing any sport are coming out and giving it a go.”
Whyman’s Wanderers had a somewhat difficult season in 2017-18, finishing eighth with just three wins on the board but she says she’s hopeful with a big pre-season they’ll improve dramatically.
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The Wanderers’ A League side fared slightly better by notching eight wins last season, although they still finished seventh as well.
That side’s clash at Mudgee, on November 10 at Glen Willow Sporting Complex, will be their first home game of the season.
The Wanderers take on Brisbane Roar in what’s actually the fourth round of their campaign, after games against Perth Glory, Sydney FC and the Wellington Phoenix.
“That’ll be fantastic, the men heading out to Mudgee,” Whyman said.
Whyman will continue her work through the central west with a clinic at Bathurst’s Holy Family on Thursday.
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