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Katrina Gorry Living the Dream…a World Away From Here

 

Matilda Katrina Gorry back in Australia preparing for the 2015 FIFA World Cup. Photo: Karl Bouro for Sportfolio

Matilda Katrina Gorry back in Australia preparing for the 2015 FIFA World Cup. Photo: Karl Bouro for Sportfolio

 

 

Twenty hours is all that separates Katrina Gorry from every professional female footballer’s dream.

20 hours.

In 20 hours, she’s paid to play football, has sponsorships, endorsements, media interest and packed stadiums. She doesn’t have to work two jobs, she simply eats, sleeps, trains and plays.

20 hours.

That’s how long it takes to fly to the U.S and player in their National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

“The life that they live, they don’t have to worry about anything else but soccer and I think that’s so different from here,” Katrina tells Sportette over coffee on one of her rare days off from training and work at a local café.

It can feel like a surreal sporting parallel universe for the 22 year old, one of Australia’s best female footballers who divides her time between playing for FC Kansas City in the NWSL and for the Brisbane Roar in the W-League.

“When you’re over there I think you take it for granted a little bit because when you do come back, I work in a café for 7 hours of a day, on my feet and three hours later I have to go to training,”

“When you’re over there I think you take it for granted a little bit because when you do come back, I work in a café for 7 hours of a day, on my feet and three hours later I have to go to training,”

“It’s hard to get motivated to go to training after being on your feet all day for that long. Then when you think about being in the US, you don’t have to do anything like that, you just have to turn up and train and you feel fresh to start the session. Yeah it’s tough.”

The NWSL has had its fair share of setbacks, this is the third attempt at a women’s league in the U.S, but you only have to look at the games to see there is renewed confidence in its future. Portland is by far the most popular team, drawing 19,000 strong crowds. Katrina’s club, Kansas draws around 5-7,000 but the team adorns billboards and many of the girls have attracted sponsorship deals to help supplement their player payments. The club has also signed a deal with the men’s team to play curtain-raisers at their matches, further growing the game by being exposed to a bigger audience.

And it’s for this reason, Katrina believes Australia will lose more of its players to overseas competitions, especially now with the budget cuts to the ABC seeing the end of broadcasts of the W-League.

“It’s hard for people to buy into women’s soccer if they can’t see it they don’t know it’s big if they cant see it,” Katrina tells Sportette.

Photo: Karl Bouro for Sportfolio

Photo: Karl Bouro for Sportfolio

“I think going to America and seeing how well they do with their sponsorships and endorsements. They have so many people who want to buy into the players over there. I know pretty much every one who step foot into the US camp has some sort of boot sponsor or clothes sponsor and their contract is worth a bit of money but their endorsements are worth a lot more than that.”

Football is all Katrina ever wanted to do. She was six when she first started kicking a ball around with her big brothers.

“My Mum tried to get me into netball and I chucked a tantrum on the court and said I don’t want to play this.”

Katrina played in both boys and girls teams until she was 12. Any of the boys who protested were pretty quickly silenced once when they could see what she could do with a ball.
“They did say something at the start, but once we started to play they were like “ok we’ll have her in our team”.”

And she hasn’t stopped impressing on the pitch since. Last year, Katrina took out the highest honour in Asia when she was named the Asian Football Confederation Women’s Footballer of the Year. She then backed that up by being named the FFA Women’s Footballer of the Year.

“It’s been so crazy, even when I wake up I can’t believe some of the things that have happened in the last year but I know 2015 can be even bigger.”

It’s a World Cup year and the Australian representative is set to play a leading role in the Matildas campaign in host country Canada.

Australia is ranked 10th in the world but has drawn “the group of death” for the tournament. They’ll face 2-time World Champions USA, 9-time African Champions Nigeria and Sweden, who are ranked fifth in the world.

“We’ve spoken a lot about it and we’ve come to the conclusion, if you want to be the best you have to beat the best I don’t think there’s a better time to go out there and show the world what we’re capable of against America.”

It’s another footballer’s dream. Just 20 hours away.

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