Credit: Cam Wheeler
If you speak to anyone from the Central Coast Mariners they will tell you that Kendall Fletcher has been a refreshing addition to the Mariners squad on and off the field.
Fletcher hails from North Carolina and this summer has found herself halfway across the world. Even this has not fazed the effervescent St Louis Athletica defender.
TheWomensGame caught up the Kendall to find out how she is going in her Australian Adventure.
Kendall, welcome to Australia. How are you finding your time here so far?
I'm really enjoying it. I'm really enjoying my time here. I am enjoying my teammates, where I am living and being able to travel around the different arenas.
How did the move to Central Coast come about?
Our coach [Stephen Roach] got in touch with a couple of the clubs in the WPS and asked whether anyone was interested in coming down.
Then our club [Saint Louis Athletica] asked us as players if anyone was interested. A couple of us were and so we started talking and realised that it would be a really good fit for us to come down here in our off season. So we decided to do it.
What were your motivations for coming here and did you know much about the League?
I didn't know much about the League. Sarah Walsh played on our team so I asked her a little bit about it.
The real motivation was really just it worked out great with our timing. We got a month off after our season and it gave us 2 ½ months to train. What a great environment to come and play in another league in another country.
What have found are the differences between the WPS and the W-League?
It's just different faces, different players. In the WPS I played with a lot of those players growing up. Whether it was in College, youth national teams or against various countries. Down here it’s a different set of players.
It's pretty physical down here. The speed of play might be little bit slower but tactically these girls watch the game a little bit more than US players do so they see the game differently. They see things in the game that players in the US might not necessarily see.
What attributes do you bring to the team?
I think I bring a little bit of experience. I have played in the US professionally and also internationally with the US National Teams and Youth World Cups.
Also these girls are young and I bring some age! That has never really been something I could bring to a team [laughs].
Yea, just experience, age, leadership and just a fresh perspective. Just like when foreign players come to the US they bring a different flavour. I guess I am just a different flavour here. The girls can learn from me and I can learn from them.
What are you hoping to get out this experience?
This is really good for me. Just getting some games in and working on things that I might not be able to work on in the off-season without playing games. Just getting faster, stronger and quicker because that's what you really need to have in the WPS.
Just being around the game more; reading the play and understanding it a bit better. The more game situations and the more you watch football the more you improve.
Over here football is on TV a lot more than it is in the US so its nice to able to be put in this environment. I can go watch A-League games more than I can in the US.
|Get to know KendallFootball good guys or football bad boys?|
Good guys [laughs]...gotta go with the good guys. The bad boys are tempting but you have to go with the good guys.
Summer or Winter?
I would rather be cold than hot because you can always put more layers on so... winter
If you could play for any team in the world?
The US Women's National Team
Your football pilgrimage?
To the Olympics and the World Cup. They are the highest level.
What do you miss about home?
I guess I miss my family. I wish that they could come and visit me and be down here with me. I guess I miss them the most.
What’s on your iPod right now?
A lot Black Eyed Peas and Pink. They seemed to be loved down here so I fit right in.
What do you do in your spare time?
Ummmm....Eat! I like to cook and eat.
If you weren’t playing football, what would you be doing?
I think I would be coaching football. Other than that I haven't really thought about it. Soccer has always been a large part of my life and I think it always be in some fashion.
What started your love for football?
I think my love for football started when I was 4 when my Mum put me in it. She put me in a bunch of different sports and soccer kind of stuck around after all of them.
I played a lot of different sports for a number of years but soccer always seemed to stick around.
It's just taken my around the world. It's given me so many opportunities and taken me around the world and taught me a lot about myself on and off the field. I think I just fell in love with it.
Did you ever think you could make a career out of it?
You know it's funny, I always tell people that I can't believe I get paid to do what I love to do.
I would be doing this regardless of my occupation but the fact that I get to call it my job is amazing. It's wonderful that there is opportunities like this for women in the US and in Australia.
It says a lot about the communities that support these teams and I want to continue coaching the game as well. So just being around the game is great for me.
What are you enjoying about Central Coast?
I am really enjoying the view at Central Coast. We play at the Bluetongue Stadium which is a fantastic arena. The area is just nice. I really like the atmosphere of Australia. It's pretty laid back and people enjoy themselves. You get that vibe when you go around to the different cities and venues.
I think the birds are one of the coolest things I have seen here! A lot of the birds are bigger and more colourful and they look like belong in the Zoo.
In the first week we were continually pointing "look at that bird" and the rest of the girls it was just a crow to them [laughs].