Fresh from her rookie season in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) with Orlando Pride, American forward Rachel Hill has swiftly emerged as one of the Westfield W-League's best newcomers.
The sprightly attacker, who enjoyed a prolific college career at the University of Connecticut (61 goals in 89 games), has continued her fine form by scoring five times in the opening three games of the season, following up a brace in the opener against Melbourne City with a superbly-taken hat-trick in the win over Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.
Despite not getting on the scoresheet during the away loss to Adelaide United last Friday, it was Hill's rapid run down the right wing and subsequent cross that forced Emma Checker into slicing the ball into her own net to get Glory back in the contest.
The New Hampshire-born player has transitioned into Australian football seamlessly and believes that the squad’s mentality has helped propel her to new heights.
“Even though I wasn’t here last year, I’ve got the vibe that this team has something to prove and that gives everyone extra motivation to go out in every game and show that we are capable of being one of the top teams in the league,” she said.
While delighted to have earned plaudits from around the country, Hill was quick to praise her teammates for providing her with so many goalscoring opportunities and the 22-year-old also acknowledged the influence a certain USWNT icon has had on her career.
“A major key to scoring is having good players around you to set you up," she said.
“After playing my first season in the NWSL with Orlando, I learned a lot from Alex Morgan. She always seems to make the right runs and knows when to take a touch, where she should take it, or if she should shoot first time. I’m still learning and I know I will get a lot out of this season and learn so much playing alongside Sam Kerr.”
The chance to play with Kerr was a major selling point for Hill and she’s flourished up top alongside our Matildas superstar, with the pair forming a formidable partnership that has already yielded a couple of assists and a combined tally of seven goals from three games.
“From the day I signed with Perth Glory, I was excited to have the opportunity to play beside Sam," she said.
“She's an incredible player and now, after just three weeks, the first thing that comes to mind about her on the pitch is that she’s a complete team player, as she always puts the team before herself. She’s so talented and never stops working.”
The on-field chemistry between the duo has been a major talking point throughout the league, with Hill loving every minute.
“Sometimes I don’t even think she knows where I am, but somehow she’ll set me up perfectly right in front of goal and the best part is she always seems to be having so much fun whenever she steps out on game day.”
It’s exactly this kind of positive attitude towards football that Hill's new coach, Bobby Despotovski, has identified as one of the greatest attributes of the new signing.
“Rachel’s always playing with a smile on her face and that filters throughout the rest of the squad,” he said.
“She’s got so much energy and her personality really suits the team.”
The U-23 US international hasn’t had too many opportunities to explore her temporary home just yet, but she is in awe of the WA coastline.
“From what I’ve seen, it’s a real nice place to live and the beaches are incredible," she said, "so I think I’ll be going to the beach a lot when we have some free time.”
Catch Hill, Kerr and the rest of the side in action during this Sunday's massive double-header against Melbourne Victory from 1:30 PM.
Get your tickets here: http://bit.ly/2jeYa1o