Damallsvenskan Champion Teagan Micah on reigniting her love of the game
Teagan Micah’s FC Rosengård have been crowned Swedish champions for the second year in a row after results elsewhere in the league on Tuesday morning (AEDT) established their lead at the top of the table as officially unassailable.
The Australian goalkeeper was almost ever-present as Rosengård marched towards their 13th title, making a total of 20 appearances this season. CommBank Matildas right-back Charlotte Grant also played a role in the title, appearing 10 times before being loaned to league rivals Vittsjö GIK.
Micah has been enjoying her football as the first-choice goalkeeper at the club, competing not only domestically but also in the European Champion’s League group stages.
“Sweden is home for me now, I absolutely love it,” she said. “We’re going well and I’m just really loving it there.”
However, the journey hasn’t always been straightforward. She admits that as a teenager, there were times when she was considering giving the game away. Her journey since then has been one of rediscovering not only her love for football, but all of the reasons that she liked it as well.
Teagan Micah has always been prodigiously talented. Born in Moe in regional Victoria, she was enrolled in football from a young age. It was apparent, even then, that the budding goalkeeper had the natural ability to succeed.
It was when her family moved to Redcliffe at age 10 that her career began to accelerate. She represented Queensland at underage national championships, shining on every occasion, and never missing an All-Star team. She was rewarded with call-ups to the Junior Matildas, earning five caps in 2012 and 2013.
Her performances, even at that young age, were eye-catching. In 2013, at the age of 16, she signed her first professional contract with Brisbane Roar. However, with legendary German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer in the squad, the youngster had to bide her time to make her first appearance in the competition.
She did debut for the Western Sydney Wanderers two seasons later, making five appearances in the 2015/16 season, but it was around this time that she was struggling to enjoy the game.
She admitted that, at that point, she was “an 18-year-old that probably would’ve quit and played AFL.”
The turning point was her experience in college football in the USA. In 2016, she earned a full scholarship to UCLA, becoming the first freshman (first-year) goalkeeper to start the first game of the season for UCLA since 2004. In total, she made 84 appearances for the college side.
“I have so much gratefulness towards UCLA and what that did for me, because I think it was a massive turning point in my career,” she said.
She also walked away from her college experience with a degree in psychology, something that she says she has been able to find use for in all walks of life.
“My parents were always really strict,” she explained. “No matter how much football I did, I had to pretty much equal it with study. I’m thankful for that because now I do have a backup plan and I love the fact that now I can just enjoy the football.”
The broader Australian footballing public first heard the name Teagan Micah after her success at college led to a call-up to the 2017 Tournament of Nations CommBank Matildas squad. She remained in and around the team, culminating in being selected for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. However, she was still waiting for her senior debut, deputising for Lydia Williams and Mackenzie Arnold.
There are many reasons why goalkeeping is such a unique position in football. Of course, there are the obvious ones – goalkeeping requires a different set of skills to other areas on the field, after all. However, what’s also different is that there is only one who can play in the team at one time. The art of being a goalkeeper, for long stretches of one’s career, is biding your time – just waiting for your opportunity to make a real name for yourself. She had to do so again upon her return to the A-League Women’s from college, sitting on the bench as Casey Dumont started for Melbourne Victory in 2019-20.
It was the 2020-21 season that fans really began to sit up and take notice of Teagan Micah. After a successful season in Denmark’s Toppserien for Arna-Bjørnar, she signed for A-League Women’s side Melbourne City. This was the first time since she was a teenager that many Australians had the opportunity to actually see Micah in action. She impressed, being crowned goalkeeper of the year, and in many eyes emerging as the most in-form Australian goalkeeper.
Finally, after four years of being called up, Micah made her CommBank Matildas debut on 15 June 2021. Again, she impressed, coming away with a clean sheet against the firepower of Sweden.
A brief stint at a club in Norway and a Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaign down, in August last year Micah’s career led her to the place that she has achieved her greatest amount of success so far – FC Rosengård.
“I’ve really settled into the club,” she said. “I’m on a clear path with them.”
She credits much of their success to the positive environment surrounding the club.
“We don’t really have any egos in our team and obviously we have such a strong leader in [Caroline] Seger so, I think our team, we all have each other’s backs.
“When it comes to being a team and being on the same page, I think we’ve got that down pat.”
For any player, it’s important being in an environment that’s comfortable for them, and Micah says that she has found that in Malmo.
“I love Malmo. It’s a beautiful little city on the water, just catch the train across and you’re in Copenhagen. It’s unreal,” she exclaimed.
“Everything’s bikeable, so we ride rain, hail or shine to training. There’s a beautiful beach, and it’s just a really cute Swedish city. I’m a big fan. I just wish it could be a little bit warmer!”
Micah emphasised the importance of being able to play with people like Caroline Seger – the most capped Swedish player in history, with an astonishing 232 appearances.
“She’s just an unreal person. Not even player, just person, full stop,” she explained.
“She’s helping me so much in my development… she’s always reassuring me about my mentality. To have someone like her as a leader and a friend to go to – it’s made such a massive difference.”
It has taken many years of setbacks and patience but Teagan Micah’s career is well and truly firing on all cylinders. Lifting the Damallsvenskan with her teammates is vindication for years of hard work. However, she has her eyes well and truly focused on July 2023, when the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 kicks off.
She knows from her journey so far that she mustn’t ever lose sight of what is most important – the love of the game.
“I don’t want it to ever turn into the feeling of a job,” she said. “I think with the pressure of a home World Cup, I still want to keep the love for the game.
“As long as we all keep the love for it and the joy for it, together as a team we can do really well.”