Joondalup United’s 14s girls’ team have performed superbly in their inaugural season at the club and now have a finals campaign to look forward to.
While their opponents have yet to be determined, the team will be confident of claiming a win in their semi-final to earn themselves a shot at silverware.
Coach Rob McCullagh has done stellar work to bring the side together, with his squad only being finalised three days before the campaign got underway.
Six of the girls had never played competitive football before, including the entire back four, while three others had only played one season previously.
As well as their relative inexperience, the squad is also one of the youngest in their age group but that hasn’t proved to be a barrier in any way.
In fact, they pushed hard for the regular season title and secured a finals spot with plenty of time to spare and can boast the best goal difference in the league as well as the second best defensive record.
“Given the girls’ inexperience and what I felt was important for both the team and club in their first year, I made the decision early to ensure they were competitive each match by first making them hard to beat,” says McCullagh.
“A national curriculum purist may not approve but the fact is, not one single team had an easy ride against this raw team and I could not be prouder of their determination and attitudes.
“The technique and game awareness will come; attitude and accountability are far harder to coach.”
The season has come with its challenges though, and at their home ground of Prince Regent Park in Heathridge there are not only no separate female changing rooms but no changing rooms whatsoever.
The situation is not ideal for participants in a winter sport but the girls haven’t let it impact them and their results have been testament to the dedication of the players, their families and their coach
In their most recent outing, they played out a 1-1 draw against Woodvale in what was essentially a dead rubber as McCullagh experimented with his squad.
Regular goalkeeper Becca Dahlstrom was given a chance to shine outfield with Catie McCullagh ably filling in between the sticks.
A goal down at half time, the team reverted to a more familiar set up and got back on level terms when Lily Hamilton found the net.
“Girls and women’s football is the next big sporting opportunity in the country at the moment,” says McCullagh.
“To this end, I would like to thank the club for the opportunity of putting together and coaching your first ever all girls team.”
Everyone at JUFC wishes Rob and the team well in their upcoming finals series.