If a 22-year-old can ever be described as a veteran, Sarah Carroll fits the bill.
The Perth local, who made her debut for Glory back in 2011, is set to add to her tally of over 50 Westfield W-League appearances after confirming that she has re-signed with the club for the 2017-18 season.
And with the experience of six previous campaigns and two Grand Final appearances behind her, she is well qualified to assess the club’s chances of going all the way this year.
“In my time at the club, we’ve gone from being one of the lower teams to one of the most competitive over the last few years and it’s great to see,” she said.
“It’s nice that we can challenge regularly now and I’m confident that we’ll be right up there again this year.
“I’m very happy with the squad. It looks very strong. We’ve got some new faces coming in that will add a little more quality in depth and the international players we have coming in will help lift that quality even more.
“All in all, it’s a stronger squad than we’ve had in previous seasons.”
The talented defender prefers to keep her personal targets to herself, but is happy to admit that she is keen to take on more of a leadership within the playing group in the coming months.
“I’m still fairly quiet and maybe don’t come across as being as experienced as I actually am,” she said. “But this year I definitely want to take a bit more on my shoulders and try and be there for the young ones."
And she is already no stranger to inspiring the next generation of female players, as illustrated by her ongoing work for Glory’s Community and Development department.
” I really enjoy getting out there to the local clubs and working with the girls,” she said. “Some girls probably don’t realise the pathway that is available to them, or where they could be in five or six years’ time and the career that is potentially available to them.
“I’m very keen that Glory as a club continues to into the community and connect with the young players out there.”
The outstanding recent achievements of the Matildas have, of course, increased the profile of women’s football in this country to an all-time high.
And Carroll is desperate to force her way into the international reckoning having been on the fringes of the Matildas squad last season.
“I was quite shocked when I got the message that I’d been included in the extended squad,” she said, “but it definitely triggered something in me.
“It’s definitely up there for me to push again this season and try and get back into the frame as it were. Having said that, it’s a quality, quality team which will be very hard to break into.
“The crowds that came out earlier this month at Penrith and Newcastle and the performances the girls produced there under pressure, were great.
“It’s a fantastic time for women’s football in this country and I’d love to be a part of it.”
In terms of other potential career firsts, meanwhile, Glory’s number two chuckled when asked if this might be the year when she finally bags her maiden W-League goal.
“I’m not taking the fact that I haven’t scored too personally,” she said. “I am a right-back after all!
“I don’t really have a goal celebration planned for if it does happen, but I’m sure something would pop into my mind on the day.
“Maybe I just need [Head Coach] Bobby [Despotovski] to let me go up for corners or something!”
The Westfield W-League season kicks off on Friday 27th October as Glory face Melbourne City at nib Stadium in a re-match of last year's Grand Final.
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