Izzy’s Index: Stick with us next year, and beyond

As the curtain begins to fall on our 2023 season, we can dwell on what is gone or use it as motivation to come back and make a massive statement next year, and further.

It sure has been a frantic five months filled with highs and lows, but the most important thing is that we’re always learning and trying to play better than our last game.

It will only be natural for us as a group to all go away separately in the off-season and ponder what we could have done better, but I encourage the group to transform these frustrations into enthusiasm.

That will be the message from the leadership group and the coaches as we head into our last game of the season against Wellington at our second home in ServiceFM tomorrow night.

To give everything we’ve got in front of our own crowd presents a significant opportunity for us to gather momentum into next year.

Of course we would have loved to have played at Coopers Stadium and we’ll be doing everything in our power to make a big return in a big way to that fortress next season, and I hope our kick-off times face a serious review.

Adelaide United fans are the best in the League, and we really feed off the showpiece that a big stadium presents, and as I’ve said previously, it’s vital for the development of our younger players.

Speaking of our younger players, what a season they have all had stepping up to the plate and (more than) holding their own at this level.

Katie Bowler has been a revelation in the last month now with two goals to her name, and we’ve seen debuts from our other local players in Zoe Tolland and Sasha Coorey, with the latter picking up an unfortunate injury just as she was hitting some serious strides in her first season.

It has been a little bit of the tale of our season, with the timing of injuries and volume of games really testing our depth, but we’ll be better for the challenge.

It is of course true that we started our season with a flyer, and we thought we could really go a couple of steps further than our maiden finals appearance last year, which was our aim.

But it wasn’t to be.

I’m positive that with this season under our belt, we’ll be able to gel next year and start the pre-season running.

Overall, we have seen that coverage and support for our game is constantly improving and I believe the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™will be a peak of this rise.

The fact that it is hosted in our own backyard will not only be a boost for our playing squad, but a high-point of our game here in Australia that can inspire young girls – and any child – to be footballers.

It would be remiss of not to mention the year Emilia Murray as well has had a strong second year and continues to earn national recognition with the Young Matildas.

These players form a large part of the future of this Club and our culture, and fans have every reason to be excited.

Next up, we’ll be taking a rest before slowly heading into WNPL action, in what has been an exciting start to that season with some very tough competition across the board.

But first, I would encourage as many Reds fans as possible to head out and support us at ServiceFM tomorrow night against Wellington, in what is poised to be a cracking game.

It fills me with a deep sense of honour every time I lead the girls out onto the pitch to represent this great Club, and not least for our continued work in the space of inclusion and pride.

Our off-field work is unrivalled, and we saw this year in plain sight and from many testimonials, the work we are doing to make football a safe space for everybody.

There is so much to be excited about in South Australian women’s football, and I hope you stick with us for the years to come.