PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES – MEGAN OYSTER (LEFT) AND CAPRICE DYDASCO (RIGHT) PLAYING FOR THE NEWCASTLE JETS WOMEN IN THE WESTFIELD W-LEAGUE 2015.16 SEASON
They grew up nearly 7000 kilometres apart in very different parts of the United States, but since their football paths crossed six years ago Megan Oyster and Caprice Dydasco have been on the same journey.
Both started playing football when they were four, Caprice in Honolulu and Megan in Chicago. They met at UCLA, where they played college football for four years before being drafted to Washington Spirit in the National Women’s Soccer League.
At the conclusion of their rookie NWSL year they found themselves heading to Australia in search of more game time at the recommendation of Spirit teammates who had previously played for Newcastle in the W-League.
“I didn’t get that much playing time [with Spirit], so this was another opportunity to get a chance to play and to keep improving,” Dydasco said.
There was tentativeness at the thought of travelling to the other side of the world to play in a league they did not know much about but the move is paying dividends for not only Oyster and Dydasco but also for the Jets.
“We didn’t know how the soccer was going to be but it’s been good,” Oyster said. “You get a lot of games in and a lot of minutes. Especially for me that has been important because [in Chicago] in winter there is nowhere to train.”
Both have been integral to the Jets success so far this season. Oyster plays centre-back and US under-23 representative Dydasco has found herself playing a key central midfield role. They are only 23 and 22 respectively and the youngsters of their Spirit squad but have found themselves in the unfamiliar role of leaders with the Jets.
“Megan is a centre-back and she brings a bit of leadership and stability for us at the back and she has been exceptional for us every game,” Jets coach Craig Deans said.
“Caprice can obviously play anywhere. Technically she is quiet good, she can use both feet and she is fast and fit.
“Both have been really good. The squad is quite young and it is a good experience for them to learn the responsibility of being an older player and to keep developing their games.”