As an extension of Impetus’ coverage of the Western Australian women’s football scene, Sharon Cowley from WA’s South-West Soccer Association Premier League club Busselton City spoke to Ben Gilby for this week’s WA On Wednesday feature (4/5/22).
Above: Busselton City FC. Photo: Sharon Cowley.
Busselton City, located in the South-West of the state are celebrating their centenary this year. Whilst their women’s team has not been around for quite as long, their first female team was fielded over 70 years ago.
Sharon revealed: “Busselton have always been a huge advocate for woman’s football which dates back to as early as 1946. However, it did not last all those years. The club picked up on having a ladies team more permanently from 1997, who had nicknamed themselves ‘The Busselton Redbacks’. In coming years the club expanded to two ladies teams – a reserve side and a senior one playing in the South West Soccer Association (SWSA).”
With the 2022 season now underway, Sharon outlined how the SWSA is looking this year. “This competition has an amazing 14 ladies teams playing throughout the two divisions.
“While once the league used to be competitive in the local area, more opportunities have presented themselves to more talented players which see them stepping up to the ‘Southwest Phoenix’ ladies team. Others may head to Perth to bigger clubs, move overseas or play at university, which is fantastic to see.”
Busselton City have an established pathway for girls to develop with the aim that they will eventually move up to play senior SWSA football.
“Our club aims to have girls going from juniors to seniors to hopefully further on if they wish to follow that path,” said Sharon. “We have a very positive, supportive club. We recently joined up with our local Busselton Soccer Club to become one club for this to make an easier pathway for our juniors and we have lots of our senior players coaching to help.”
As such an established club, it should come as no surprise that Busselton City have produced some excellent players over the years, as Sharon highlighted.
“Asha McClurg grew up around the club from a child watching her Dad play, then joining herself. She has just joined Coastal Carolina University after spending the last two years at Sussex.
“We have had the amazing Baxter Thew who started playing seniors with us at 13 years old, she is currently playing for Bankstown City Lions FC in the New South Wales NPL competition after an a successful stint at Murdoch University Melville, who won last season’s Western Australian NPL.
“Arianna Dawson started playing for Busselton when she was in grade six at school, and by the time she reached senior level she already looked dangerous with her super-speed and ball skills. She moved on to America to play at Dodge City Community College in Kansas for two years then went to California State University Dominguez Hills for another two. At present she is captain of the ladies South West Phoenix team.
“Then, there is Siobhan Longmore who has more talent in her big toe than my whole body. She followed her big sisters, Arianna. Siobhan played for Dodge City in Kansas for two years before heading to Eckerd College, Florida for a further two years. At present, she is playing for Fremantle City Football Club in the Western Australia NPL.”
As Western Australia has finally opened up after two years of COVID restrictions, Sharon believes that the pandemic has not had an overly negative impact on the club.
“We were not able to host our annual Carnival, but other than that we have been able to carry on. Our aim is to continue to grow strength in our juniors to carry them on to the seniors.
“We had a few amazing years winning the league title and cups along the way, but also had rebuilding years where we struggled to win a game, but have always fought to make sure we have a Premier Ladies team.”
Busselton City’s season to date: