Claire Emslie set for first Melbourne derby with City


“I don’t know anyone who plays for them [Victory], but they are having a great run. They won the premiership last year and have just played in Asia so are a good team. It’s great to have a local rivalry and I will see what it is like.”

Emslie has started in City’s last two matches – wins over Adelaide and then against champions Sydney FC last week – but admits that she is still getting used to the league.

“I have just been here for two and a half weeks. It takes a bit of time to get over the jet lag and into the time zone, and I have had to get to know my teammates and the system they are playing.”

Like most top professionals, Emslie has to travel to play full time all year round, and while her main job is in the USA she had heard good things about City and the W-League from international colleagues and Australians in the US.

“I was in Orlando last season but I always wanted to play in Australia.

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“I knew a lot of Australian girls in America and two of my international teammates, Kim Little and Jen Beattie, had played in Australia with Melbourne City.

“There are also connections with the City Football Group, and I had played for Manchester City in England.

“In the US I played with Emily van Egmond, who is a teammate now, and Alanna Kennedy, who is at Sydney.”

City are currently joint top of the league with three wins and a draw, a much better start to the campaign under coach Rado Vidosic than they enjoyed last season, where they failed to make the finals for the first time after winning three championships in a row.

“Beating Sydney, it was great to get a result in such a big match. We are really starting to gel and are creating some really good chances,” said Emslie.

Her career highlight is scoring that goal for Scotland, who were unlucky to be eliminated at the group stage in France.

“I still can’t believe it. It’s something I am proud of, to be part of the first team to go to the World Cup was pretty amazing. Women’s soccer is growing there in Scotland. There’s been a lot more investment in the game, but it’s still not considered a professional sport.”

Like many women of her generation, she got into the game because of her older male siblings.

“I got into it because of my older brother Rory. He is a year and a half older than me and he’s always played football with his friends and I wanted to be involved and playing, and it turned out I was pretty good.

“I didn’t actually play in a girls’ team until I was about 12. I just loved it, and playing with the boys made me tougher and helped my development.”

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