Welcome to Part 2 of our Diamond League retrospective! Click here to read Part 1 on the founding of the competition.
Beyond its initial goal of offering development opportunities for young female footballers, it was also hoped that Diamond League players would regularly graduate to representative football and eventually strengthen the NSFA Women’s Premier League Competition.
This has certainly been the case with Northern Tigers youth teams almost exclusively filled by Diamond League players, and now excelling in NPL1 after the club secured promotion to the top tier in 2016. Northern Tigers have had the following Diamond League alumni play in senior football:
- Jessica Forster (Hornsby Heights DL)
- Claudia Johnstone (Hornsby Heights DL)
- Jasmine Meli (Hornsby Heights DL)
- Taylah Bondy (Northbridge DL)
- Tess Rickard (Northbridge DL)
- Tara Watson (Turramurra United DL)
- Laura Wilson (Turramurra United DL)
Another exciting development in 2021 has been the emergence of multiple Diamond League alumni in the local Women’s NSFA Premier League. Across multiple teams many girls from the G11 Class of 2014 have made a significant impact on the competition. Turramurra United in particular have been the beneficiary of several ex-Diamond League players returning from representative football to once again test themselves in the local competition.
We interviewed a handful of these players to understand more about their football journey and what role the Diamond League played in their football development.
What skills, habits, lessons from Diamond League helped prepare you for the transition into NPL representative football?
Taylah – Diamond League was undoubtedly the reason I was able to progress into NPL representative football. In Diamond League I was treated as a rep player which was so inspiring and encouraging for me as a person who saw myself making a career out of my football. Both the technical and general game skills I learnt have taken me so far through my journey, most of which I still use today. I cannot tell you how much the hour-long juggling sessions or the dreaded 1 on 1’s has helped me. It is those academy programs that take the time to go through and teach you the basics that is a vital part of a player’s success in football.
Mackenzie – Though we always had fun we had discipline and respect for our coach. That was a major key in the transition into NPL. That overall drive to do well and train hard was definitely carried over from Diamond League to Tigers.
Anabel – My biggest lesson was that making mistakes is how we learn. Practice makes progress not perfection.
Chloe – Diamond league gave me an environment where making mistakes was accepted and encouraged which gave me the confidence in myself in NPL football. Diamond league also gave me fantastic basic football skills and game strategy that most definitely prepared me for NPL representative football.
Where did your football journey take you after the G12 Diamond League Season of 2015?
Taylah – After Diamond League in 2015 I spent two years at North-Shore Mariners, a highlight definitely being able to travel to America for a few weeks to play against some phenomenal football teams, before making the move to Northern Tigers for my under 15’s season. That year saw a lot of opportunities for me as I was chosen to play for, and co-captain the NSW Football State Team at the annual state championships, then came back to Sydney to be offered to play up for women’s reserve grade for the rest of the season. The following year I was offered a full-time position in the Northern Tigers reserve grade squad and was given the opportunity by Football NSW to travel around Europe and play against some of their highest regarded women’s teams. I was given the chance to officially debut for Northern Tigers First Grade at 15 years old in 2019 and continued to play for Reserve Grade until 2021.
Mackenzie – Following Diamond League I went to play at Northern Tigers for five years right up until the Under 17s. This year I’m playing in the NSFA Women’s Premier League with a whole bunch of ex Diamond League and Northern Tigers Teammates.
Anabel – I played for Northern Tigers until the Under 15s. I was dropped at the end of 2018 and then played for an NPL2 club – Gladesville Ravens. We had a great year in 2019 but with HSC and study commitments quite a few of us decided that playing local WAA Prems was every bit as competitive as NPL 2 but with extra flexibility and much less travel to fit in all the study. Luckily a few of my friends from the G11 / G12 Diamond League were in the same boat and we have happily formed this new team with Turramurra United. This has been the best team yet. Not just competitively but also socially. We have clicked again after all these years and are enjoying our football more than ever.
Chloe – I played for Northern Tigers for five years but this year am enjoying being back playing community football with a lot of my old teammates.
What have you enjoyed the most about returning to local community football in the NSFA Women’s Premier League this year?
Taylah – This year, given my schooling commitments, I decided to give representative football a break, returning to Women’s NSFA Football with some of my representative teammates from over the years. Given all of the amazing and unforgettable opportunities I have been presented with in my football career, this year has to be one of my highlights. This team has undoubtedly sparked a passion and excitement for the game, pushing me every training and every game to be at my best but to also enjoy myself while doing so. Football can come with a lot of additional pressures but returning to the NSFA has reminded me of my true love of the game. What I have enjoyed the most is the bond we have created off the field, which consequently has united our team on the field and made us very competitive. We are a very young team, so we keep learning every week. There is never a dull moment with these girls, and I love being able to be pushed by my teammates in the best ways possible.
Mackenzie – Though I have always enjoyed playing football, returning to Women’s NSFA Premier League has brought back a lot of the fun in playing football. Everyone is there to have fun and support each other. The team is the priority over and above individual goals and achievements. There is a lot of fun and laughter when we are all together.
Anabel – I have enjoyed the balance. Still playing at a highly competitive level but being able to maintain my studies and the social life of a Year 12 student. I have loved being back in a team with my G11 and G12 friends and I can’t believe how quickly our whole team has bonded.
Chloe – I have enjoyed playing in a more relaxed and fun environment. The games are still of a very high quality and incredibly competitive and I enjoy it because I am surrounded by friends and really good people.
Click here to check out Part 3 of our Diamond League retrospective!