Monday, August 23, 2010

Interview with Matilda midfielder Sally Shipard

Photo: Sally Shipard, the 22-year-old Matildas midfielder, is looking forward to next year's Women's World Cup in Germany [PlessPix]

Sally Shipard was in Hobart on the weekend to watch the Women’s State-wide Cup Final and to talk to the players. The 22-year-old Matilda enjoyed her visit and spoke to the female players on the eve of the game. She also participated in the TIS side’s recovery session the day after the game. I caught up with Sally at KGV Park before the final and here is the transcript of the interview.

Walter Pless: What brings you to Hobart?

Sally Shipard: I was asked about a week ago whether I’d like to chat to the girls on Friday night and be involved in the final. I was looking forward to it and I’m glad I’m here.

WP: Have you been to Hobart before?

SS: I have been, but I was two or three years old, so that doesn’t really count.

WP: Are you looking forward to the Women’s World Cup next year?

SS: Absolutely. I mean, we’ve just qualified and we’ve got a year to prepare so we’ve got a good block of time together and, hopefully, we can improve. We’re looking forward to it.

WP: We are the Asian champions, so what does that mean for women’s football?

SS: It’s a great thing for football in general, Australia wide. It’s the first time any team has won the Asian Cup, which is a pretty special thing to be able to say and, you know, out of all the male and all the female teams that have represented Australia, it’s a first, so it’s a pretty nice thing, really. We’re really looking forward to the World Cup.

WP: How do you think we’ll go on that bigger stage?

SS: We’ve previously managed to get out of the group stage in most World Cup or Olympic tournaments and get to the quarterfinals, so really, with any major tournament, you want to equal or better your past performances and get out of the group stages and reach the quarterfinals and who knows from there?

WP: You were Australia’s youngest Olympic footballer. Will you be playing at the next Olympic Games?

SS: Hopefully, presuming we qualify. With Germany next year, we then come home and then we’ve got the Olympic qualifiers towards the end of next year. It’ll just be another Asian Cup process. Hopefully, we manage to have a successful tournament during the World Cup and then qualify for the Olympics and have a successful London campaign.

WP: How do you think Australia will go at the World Cup?

SS: It is exciting times and we do have a whole year to prepare and, as I said, you want to get out of your group and equal your last effort. I think we’re capable of doing that and getting a quarterfinal berth and into the semi-finals and finish in the top four.

WP: Has the W-League helped in developing women’s football?

SS: Absolutely. I mean, in any kind of sport, the foundations can sometimes be the most important and I think the W-League, which is in its third year, I think it’s just great that the girls are playing week in and week out and those who aren’t quite in the national team are being exposed to quality football under the watchful eye of the national team coach. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to show what they’ve got.

WP: What would your advice be to budding young Tasmanian female players?

SS: Persevere with training and just enjoy your football. With enjoyment comes your work ethic and your willingness to work hard to succeed. It’s an important stepping stone to create some sort of foundation within yourself, and then, I guess, making the most of opportunities just to travel away. Sometimes it might mean that you’ve actually got to be moving away from your home town, but it’s all worthwhile at the end if that’s what you want to do and if that’s what you enjoy.

WP: Do you like playing in midfield?

SS: I like to play wherever the coach wants me to play. I feel a little lost at the minute in that I don’t actually know my position, but hopefully, I’ll be able to stick it out in the midfield because that’s where I do actually love playing. But, football is football and wherever I am out on the pitch, I’m not really concerned.


Anonymous said...

would a socceroos wear that hat and top with their national team jacket???

Anonymous said...

Thats pretty low.
You have no comment on Sally's acheivements and the fact she goes out of her way to help up-coming footballers, but decide to comment on the way she is dressed.
Seriously, wake up!

Anonymous said...

Frankly i'd find it odd if a Socceroo did wear that apparel. But she is a Matilda. And for me, that's play on. What's the problem?

Anonymous said...

I found this article via the Science of Football.

There is a fine article there comparing Sally in the pen shoot out at the Asian Championship and that of the Chinese player Liu Ying at the World Cup. The link is

Anonymous said...

Great to have an interview for a national team player in Hobart, Walter.

Interesting that she doesn't mind playing anywhere on the pitch. It is also interesting that Sally doesn't know where she is on the pitch because she plays so many positions. I have a relative like that at the moment!

Casual Observer