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Boasting over 2o years of experience in the game, Stacey Day is one of the strongest defenders in the Herald Women’s Premier League competition. Hailing from the ‘City of Churches’, Day has found a home in Newcastle and especially within her new club New Lambton FC. From starting football in an all boy’s competition she has progressed her career all the way through to the Young Matildas and Westfield W-League. With a number of injury setbacks holding her back, Stacey is eager in improving and learning new skills to enhance her game; this week she chatted with Quentin about how her career and her new team.
Where and when did you start your junior career and how did you progress into senior football?
I started playing football as a 6 year old in Adelaide. I was the only girl in not only an all boys team but an all-boys competition.
Tell me about your playing history – What teams have you played for and when?
I played with the boys until I was forced to play in a girls comp. All through my developing years, I played in State tournaments representing South Australia. At 13 I was picked for a scholarship with the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) and in the same year represented Adelaide Sensation (Northern NSW Pride equivalent) in the old National Soccer League (NSL). In 2006 (16 years old) I was chosen in the Young Matildas squad and attended regular camps with the team. 2007 I was selected in a 21 player squad for the World Cup Qualifiers in China (that we, unfortunately, didn’t qualify). In 2007/08 myself and one other player from Adelaide were asked to be apart of a “trial” for the Westfield W-league to see how well it would be received by the public in which I represented Newcastle (Newcastle, Sydney and Brisbane played in a round robin type format). From those games and as an 18-year old I made the phone call to then, coach of Newcastle Jets Gary Phillips, to move away from my family to play for Newcastle Jets W-League side. I played for Newcastle from 2008-2010, Adelaide United for the 2010-2011 season and then back to Newcastle from 2011-2014 where I, unfortunately, ruptured my ACL in preseason and began my horror run with injuries with a second ACL rupture not long after my return from the first injury. In the off seasons of the W-league and to date I’ve played seasons in the Herald Women’s Premier League (WPL) with Merewether United, Broadmeadow Magic, Adamstown Rosebud, Lake Macquarie, South Wallsend and now New Lambton.
When did you start playing with the team you’re with now?
I started playing with New Lambton this year being the clubs first year in the Herald WPL competition.
What player has been one of your favourite players to play with and you have admiration for? Why?
From my first year in Newcastle, I was pretty spoilt for choice with the players I played with. I don’t think I could narrow it down to a single player when you have the calibre of players like Cheryl Salisbury, Joey Peters, Katie Gill, Amber Neilson and a very young Emily Van Egmond.
Which player is the hardest to play against? And why?
I would have to say someone like Jodie Taylor or Sam Kerr. Their stats speak for themselves for both players. Both have a great eye for goal. Every defender’s nightmare!
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not playing soccer/football?
In my spare time, I love just having coffee and hanging out with friends. I’ve started doing CrossFit at Crossfit Origin which I thoroughly enjoy.
I currently work in the mining industry at Hunter Valley Operations as a dump truck driver. Before this, I was working in an Administrative role and completed my Certificates in Business Administration.
At a new club in New Lambton, what are your initial thoughts been on the club and how it’s going in their inaugural season considering some of the high calibre clubs you’ve previously played at?
New Lambton has been absolutely brilliant. For our inaugural season, I think we as a club have exceeded not only our own but everybody else’s expectation. From day one I felt as though I hadn’t just signed up for the New Lambton club but I also signed for the New Lambton family. Everybody across all grades male or female are treated the same and that in itself is hard to come by these days.
What attracted you to play at New Lambton?
100% the coach and the values of the club. Apart from the Westfield W-league teams I’ve been involved with, I have never been apart of a more well-oiled machine so to speak. Even at this stage in my career every training session I’m still learning something. Having an A Licenced coach take the reigns of the 1st grade was a massive drawcard for me. Something I didn’t have to think twice about when making my decision at the start of the season.
Having played in the Westfield W-League for quite some time, you must be proud of how far Women’s Football has come in recent years?
Women’s Football has come so far, even just in my time. I remember my first taste of representative football we had to pay to compete. Even the tracksuits we had to give back once the tournament was over. Now it’s the complete opposite. People have to as well as want pay to watch the highest league in Australia. Put money aside, the calibre of players that the W-league is now able to attract is incredible. Something that is only going to grow and get better in years to come.
Having been back and forth between Newcastle and Adelaide, where does your allegiance lie?
100% Newcastle (I have to say that right? Haha). In all seriousness as soon as I moved to Newcastle I just knew it wouldn’t be long that I would be calling this home.
Most memorable moment(s) of your career so far?
One of my most memorable moments would probably be being apart of the World Cup Qualifiers. Not everyone can say they have the ‘Green & Gold’ Jersey hanging in their wardrobe. Even being born in England and the rivalry in sports between the two countries that has definitely been the highlight for me. Another would be playing for Newcastle. Moving out and away from home at 18 was a big call for me but one I do not regret.
What are you hoping to achieve for this year’s season?
We as a club have had targets we wanted to achieve throughout the season. So far we have ticked the boxes. We have secured a finals place in our first season. Mathematically winning the comp is also achievable. We’ve beaten Warners Bay and have had close games with Merewether who for me have been the teams to beat for quite some time now. At the moment though we aren’t getting too far ahead of ourselves and just taking each game as it comes.
What’re your plans for the future of your career? Where are you hoping to progress?
Injury interrupted my W-League career. I would love to be able to compete at that level again and have the ability to leave on my own terms rather than be ruled out through injuries etc. Last year’s Jets girls didn’t do me any favours though with how well they went in the season (haha).