The new Western Sydney Wanderers W-League team will have a distinct Penrith flavour when the girls hit the pitch for their opening game against Perth Glory next month.
Eight Wanderers players will represent the local area this season, including four American imports who will call the Western Sydney University Kingswood Campus, which is also the side’s new training base, their home.
Young Wanderers forward Alix Roberts currently resides with her family in Leonay while former Matildas legend Joey Burgess recently relocated to Glenmore Park.
Originally from Sydney’s north shore, midfielder Chloe O’Brien will move locally to live with her grandparents while long-time Wanderer Caitlin Cooper will be splitting her time between Penrith – living with her dad – and Wollongong during the upcoming season.
Americans Kendall Fletcher, Katie Stengal, Paige Neilson and Alix Arlitt are still to arrive in the country but have plans to live in student accommodation facilities at the Kingswood campus.
Speaking with the Weekender, Leonay resident Alix Roberts said living so close to the club’s new training base in Kingswood certainly has its advantages.
“It’s a real laugh at training when everyone says they’re driving about an hour to get here and I rock up 10 minutes just out of bed, so it’s definitely been good for me,” she laughed.
“Last year we were training at Liverpool and Blacktown and it was a bit inconsistent, so having our home base in Kingswood is a big step forward for us.
“We’re pretty much equipped with everything we need here, and it’s a great base for us as a team moving forward.”
Having won both a championship and premiership with the Brisbane Roar, Joey Burgess will bring plenty of much-needed experience to Western Sydney’s line-up this season.
The 37-year-old winger, who played 40 games for Australia, said she’s loving life back in western Sydney.
“I grew up in Campbelltown and moved to Queensland for six years playing with the Roar and now I’m living in Penrith,” Burgess said.
“It makes a massive difference not having to travel far to get to training, and the university looks after us very well.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.