Van Egmond creates history in ‘fee’ transfer
IT'S the small detail that tells you how attitudes to the W-League are changing.
When Emily van Egmond runs out for Newcastle Jets on Saturday, at home to Western Sydney, it's as the first player in the competition to be the subject of a fee between clubs.
Just a few days ago the Matildas vice-captain was a Wolfsburg player in Germany, but feeling the lure of coming back to play in Australia after two-and-a -half years away.
When word of that reached her hometown club, the Jets moved quickly and sought commercial support for a deal; almost within hours, Newcastle Council, Greater Bank and Northern NSW Football had come to the party, and a deal was struck between the two clubs.
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"I'm very fortunate to be back; the club acted quickly on my situation, and I'm just super-excited to be home and be able to put on a Jets shirt again," said van Egmond. "I had a very good time at Wolfsburg and was very fortunate and happy to have had an opportunity at such a prestigious club. But it was time to come home."
The 17,000-odd who watched the Matildas beat Brazil in Newcastle in September confirmed the support for women's football - well timed, with the Jets assuming the running of their team again after a period under the control of NNSW Football.
"For us to bring the vice-captain of the Matildas back is a real coup," Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna said. "She's a local girl and that matters around here."
Now van Egmond just wants to get on with her first competitive action.
"Any kind of media we get is nice and it's great for the game," she said. "But we're to play football, we're here to do the job of being a professional athlete.
"At the end of the day we have to do that job on the field. As part of the leadership group of the Matildas, if I can influence the younger players at the Jets in any way then I'll be very happy.
"I've always tried to; at 24 I'm not considered young anymore, but I'm still learning myself and no one's perfect.
"I haven't been able to watch many W-League games from being abroad, but from what I've heard I'm excited to see how far it's come."