Catley on WSL: “England is the home of football and from my perspective it’s where every footballer wants to be playing”
By Roger Clarke and Husmukh Kerai
Last Updated: 06/07/20 6:15am
Australia defender Steph Catley says her decision to sign for Arsenal Women was a “no brainer” because the Women’s Super League is where everyone wants to play.
The 26-year-old full-back joined Arsenal from Melbourne Victory earlier this week, having also played for the Portland Thorns, OL Reign and Orlando Pride in North America.
Catley, who has 82 caps for the Matildas, says she had her heart set on Arsenal and England after experiencing women’s football in Australia and the US.
“Because I’ve played in America for so long, I’ve been there for around six or seven years, since I was 18. I feel like I have experienced everything I can in the American league and now I want to challenge myself at one of the best clubs in the world,” she told Sky Sports News.
“England has gone from strength to strength in terms of its league and their national team in the last couple of years. For me it seemed like a bit of a no brainer.
“There were a few [options], it was a time in my career where I made it clear I wanted a change, it wasn’t exactly easy but for a few years now I’ve looked at Arsenal as a club that I have wanted to play at. Everything aligned at this moment in time and I knew that is where I wanted to be.
“For a long time the US leagues have probably been seen as the best in women’s football, because of the depth of the teams and the quality of the players who have gone there.
“Everyone has been waiting for England to hit its stride and in the last year or so it has done. More and more players are going to want to come and play there, England is the home of football and from my perspective it’s where every footballer wants to be playing.
“If you look at all of the English clubs, they are all making big signings. Some of the best female players in the world are looking to come here.
“I look at the list that we have at Arsenal and I am flabbergasted by it. There are so many incredible players that will be pushing each other.”
Montemurro and Foord effect
Arsenal Women’s Australian duo, manager Joe Montemurro and recent acquisition Caitlin Foord, also played a part in convincing Catley to relocate to London.
She knows the manager’s style having worked with him in Melbourne, while her off-field friendship with national team-mate Foord has helped her decision-making process.
“Obviously, it came into it. I know how [Montemurro] likes his team to play and as a footballer I fit into that system. He likes to play attacking football and likes his teams to have a lot of possession while also being well-disciplined in defence.
“It’s the way I like to play football and it’s obviously nice to have a fellow Aussie when you are going somewhere brand new.
“I’ve leant on Caitlin a lot over the past few weeks. It’s so much easier going into a team where you know a few friendly faces.
“I’ve known her years, I’ve played alongside Kim Little and Jennifer Beattie as well at Melbourne City for a year or two. You know you work well with them on the field and knowing them off the field definitely helps as well.”