Westland: I had to learn to love the game again

New Adelaide United midfielder, Meisha Westland, has reignited her love for football following a brief intermission from the top level.

New Adelaide United midfielder, Meisha Westland, has reignited her love for football following a brief intermission from the top level.

Westland took a break from pursuing a career in the game in 2020 which gave her the clarity needed to re-energise and reset her goals.

“I had been in the NTC environment for what felt like a really long time and I needed a refresher to work out what I really wanted to do with my life,” Westland revealed.

“I was 14 when I started at NTC Brisbane and after a number of years in the game in those elite environments, I really felt like I really needed to take a step back for a bit.

“So I had that time to myself and it helped me learn to love the game again, and it was the perfect amount really, and since my return to the A-League it’s been full steam ahead.”

The 21-year-old Queenslander has been in football for most of her life, going through the youth Brisbane Roar ranks and NTC program. After the gap year, of sorts, Westland put the feelers out in search of an A-League contract, and Melbourne City swooped in the 2021/22 season.

In the meantime, Westland had enjoyed an ‘invincible’ season with Lions FC in Queensland, as they stormed to the WNPL title and also the Women’s Super Cup, and she played for Manly FC prior to her arrival in Adelaide.

From an A-League perspective, the hard-working defensive midfielder made the switch from Melbourne City this off-season where she accumulated 12 appearances including her league debut.

She has so far featured off the bench in the three games played this season and is hungry for as many minutes as possible ahead of the Club’s trip to play Western Sydney Wanderers.

“First of all, I really hope that we win the league because we’ve got the squad to do it,” Westland said.

“Right now I’m focusing on getting more game time and hopefully in the future there will be some starts.”

Just as Westland had been on the Reds’ radar for some time, so too was Adelaide for the energetic ball player.

“I had seen that Adelaide had been on this ongoing incline in terms of performance and I knew that I wanted to be here because you always hear about its culture and comradery.

“They had also retained the bulk of the squad which I really liked, and I’ve been loving it so far.

“United has been on the rise for a long time and I feel like we have the makings for a really successful year.

“I’m really hoping we can lift that trophy.”

This ‘team’ mentality is usually what moulds Championship sides, and Westland knows very well it takes the whole squad to do it, and opportunity is always around the corner.

“I think in those times when you’re maybe not playing all the time, you really just need to compete and motivate yourself to get better each day,” she said.

“The coaches here at United are brilliant and they communicate really well to each other and to us as the playing group, and they let us know when we are performing and not performing.

“At the same time, everyone’s so lovely and friendly, and I’m happy to be here just as much as I am trying to push for as many minutes as I can.”

Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, returned the sentiment, delighted to have been able to add Westland to the squad and its growing depth.

“We were really pleased to be able to bring Meisha in at the start of this season and she was actually someone we have tried to sign for a couple of years now back when she was at Lions FC,” Stenta said.

“She is a quite a technical, smart midfielder in that No. 6 position and beyond, and she has a good running capacity and engine.

“While she’s quite new to the elite level having played one season, there’s a lot of potential there for her to be a really good player for us and hopefully for a long period of time as well.”

Westland has just completed her third year of a four-year Primary Education degree and was finishing the year remotely upon her switch to the City of Churches a few months ago.

The sea change has been a welcome shake up for the youngster, who will try and seek extra work amongst the bustle of competing at the highest level.

This maturity beyond her years will no doubt chart a path for Westland to succeed at both.