Arsenal move fires Caitlin Foord's future ambition
A move to FA Women’s Super League outfit Arsenal in January spelt the beginning of a new chapter in the career of Westfield Matildas star Caitlin Foord.
At 25 years old, Caitlin Foord has packed a lot into her near decade of professional football.
The striker’s latest move to England adds to her already spectacular career which has seen her play in the United States, Asia, as well as in the Westfield W-League.
Since packing her bags as an 18 year old, Foord has spent the past seven seasons chasing the never-ending football summer, splitting time between the United States (Portland Thorns) and Australia (Sydney FC) in recent times.
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However, that routine came to an end in January this year. With the NWSL wrapped up in late 2019, Foord was weighing up her options when the English giants came knocking on the door.
“I didn’t know if going back to the NWSL was going to be the right fit for me,” Foord told the FFA Podcast.
“I was just kind of curious to see what opportunities would occur and luckily, Arsenal showed interest. Obviously, Joe [Montemurro] being an ex-coach in Australia helped as well.”
The interest and move to Europe, in hindsight, has come at the exact moment Foord was finally open to the possibility.
“It felt like the right time and I was ready for it.”
I think now I am getting a bit older, when I looked at things that I think are going to help my football, this was the right move.”
The Westfield Matildas star has become accustomed to playing abroad, however the transition to London, and first glimpse of european club football, has come as a new challenge for the Aussie striker.
“I guess it was kind of like the first day of school when you’re trying to learn how things go,” she said about her first experience at Arsenal training.
“My first mistake on the pitch was wearing normal moulded boots! It was obviously wet and slippery and I was slipping all over the place to be honest. It was almost just trying to stay on my feet the whole session because it was so different.”
Despite the new conditions and new faces, Foord’s arrival at Arsenal was not only welcomed by the player but also her new teammates as it could not have come at a better time.
“When I came into the team, it was almost an easier transition for me in the sense that I was obviously excited to get here,” she remembered.
I think for the team, from how they expressed it, they were even more excited for me to get there because we hadn’t had a very good run with injuries.”
“It seemed like they were just excited to have another player as well.”
Her first appearance for the Gunners arrived against Lewes in an FA Cup tie on February 23 and it was a fixture that the striker will not forget anytime soon.
“It was nice that my first game was kind of an easier one. It was actually an FA Cup game against a team from the division below," she remembered.
"The girls were saying this would be a nice transition one for you, just get another hat-trick. I happened to score a goal and actually had a couple of opportunities in the first half as well.”
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The FA Cup fixture acted as the perfect springboard for her side’s FA Women’s League Cup Final against Chelsea, a team that featured fellow Westfield Matildas teammate Sam Kerr in their ranks.
Foord’s Arsenal fell 2-1 to Kerr’s Chelsea, but that did not stop the striker from taking away some positives from the encounter.
“We played well, and I think it brought back some confidence into the team as well,” she told the podcast.
“With all the injuries that they’d had, and to play the style that we were looking to play again, I think that was the biggest positive coming out of that game.”
The COVID-19 pandemic may have put her Arsenal career on hold for the time being, however, Foord revealed how this latest move will benefit her future.
“I just want to keep challenging myself to get better and I just feel like there is more to come. I feel like I have so much more to achieve,” Foord said.
“Being in a culture like this, with the players around me, I think that can hopefully help me develop and transform that into the national team, and in the long run help the team be successful.”
In the prime of her football years, Caitlin Foord is confident that her time at Arsenal can fire her forward.