For a young girl from Cardiff, the opportunity to move to the big league of America was too good an opportunity to turn down for Wales’ Jess Fishlock.
The 26-year-old will move abroad for the third time in her career after agreeing a contract with the NWSL Seattle Reign, joining former Arsenal manager Laura Harvey in moving state side.
The Wales international spent two and a half years in Holland with AZ Alkmaar between 2008 and 2010, and has just completed a short spell in Australia with the Melbourne Victory.
For Americans not familiar with Fishlock, or what she will bring to U.S soccer, what you will receive is a highly competitive, highly creative and highly motivated individual who will cover every inch of turf or blade of grass from minute one to minute 90.
While it will be a massive blow to the English Women’s Super League to lose Fishlock, no teammate or supporter will begrudge her the move.
She spoke to NWSL News about her move and what she hopes to achieve during the inaugural competition.
So Jess, tell us how the move to Seattle occurred?
I had just left Australia and was on my way to Greece to play for Wales, when I received an email from Laura Harvey. She asked what my contract situation was at Bristol and whether I would be interested in a move to Seattle. I replied and told her that yes I would be interested in a possible move, and it kind of went from there.
Was there ever any doubt that this would be a good move, or did you give a yes pretty quickly?
From a footballing point of view it was an absolute yes and there wasn’t a lot to think about.
I obviously had to think about the logistics and how easy the move would be, but from the football perspective, I didn’t waste a lot of time thinking about it.
What do you know about Seattle and leagues run previously in America?
I know a bit about the leagues and that they were not very sustainable, but I know they have got things in place that will hopefully make this league more stable. I’m hoping that with this being the case, the league can build, and build, and build.
Regarding Seattle, I’ve read a bit about the club and spoken to Laura Harvey about the owner and chairman, who seems really passionate about women’s soccer. I know that the men’s team, the Seattle Sounders, are meant to have the best fans in the league, so I’m just really, really excited about the move.
Do you have any early expectations or ambitions working with Laura Harvey?
It will be interesting. I’ve heard good things about Laura and her achievements speak for themselves. I’ve spoken to friends who have played for her and I’m just really excited to work with her – she knows my game, she’ll know how she wants to use me, and again, I’m just really excited.
You’ll be lining up with the likes of Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe; are there any players you’re looking forward to playing with?
I’m really looking forward to lining up alongside Megan Rapinoe, she’s a great player and I think we’ll work well together when she returns from her loan at Lyon.
But to be honest I’m looking forward to working with all of them. They’ve obviously got Kaylyn Kyle who I’ve heard good things about, and the Mexican players too – it’s just going to be a great bunch of players to play alongside.
How much did your recent stint in Australia influence your move to America?
I think it did have a big influence. I’d had an intense season in the Women’s Super League and with Wales, and I just wanted to get away from it all.
The move actually turned out to be really good because I didn’t feel as much pressure and I was really enjoying my football, not that I wasn’t enjoying it before. It revitalized me as a player and as a person, and it made me realize I have so much more that I want to achieve, so when I had the email from Laura, I absolutely jumped at the chance to move.
Was there ever a doubt that becoming a professional player was going to happen?
Yes I think there was. When you’re growing up, especially playing women’s football, being professional seems so far away. I don’t think I’ve ever doubted my ability, but it was finding the right channels and progressing in a way to get there. I just consider myself very lucky to have this opportunity, and I’m extremely thankful for it.
Finally, if you had a message for the fans of Seattle Reign, what would it be?
I am really excited to be a part of Seattle Reign and I am quietly confident that myself and the fans will have a great relationship.
I hope that I can provide them with entertainment and hopefully give them what they want to keep them coming back.
A huge thank you goes out to Jess Fishlock for taking time out of her preparations for the upcoming NWSL season to do this interview with us. Make sure to follow Jess on Twitter @JessFishlock and her team, the Seattle Reign FC @SeattleReignFC.