'Evans has talent': Westfield Matilda Foord has high praise for Sydney FC debutant who moved 3,000km from Northern Territory

Shay Evans may be a new name to many but Westfield Matildas star Caitlin Foord believes Sydney FC’s teenage debutant is ready to show everybody the talent which earned her a life-changing move from a remote town 3,000km away in the Northern Territory.

The 17-year-old made her Westfield W-League bow 82 minutes in to the Round 11 clash against cross-city rivals Western Sydney Wanderers at Leichhardt Oval, a match that the Sky Blues won 3-0 thanks to Sofia Huerta’s opener and Foord’s double.

Images courtesy of Peter Furst, Ann Odong

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Evans’ football potential was identified by Westfield Matildas head coach Alen Stajcic four years ago during a visit to John Moriarty’s Football Foundation, an Indigenous football training centre, where Evans has since become the first graduate to link up with a professional club.

Evans, who hails from the Yanyula tribe in Borroloola, an isolated community on the McArthur River in Eastern NT, has clearly made a big impression on the 67-cap Westfield Matilda Foord since arriving in the Harbour City.

“It was was awesome for Shay to get on tonight,” Foord told The Women’s Game.

“She's here for a reason, she's got talent, she has to get on to the field and back herself.

“Of course anyone that steps into the team, we believe they can do the job.”


Her coach Ante Juric was also delighted to have the opportunity to hand Evans her first competitive appearance. “Shay making her debut was fantastic,” he said.

“We needed more attacking options to balance the bench and Shay has been working very hard.”

Evans greets her mentor John Moriarty, the first recognised Indigenous Australian to be selected for the national football team
Evans greets her mentor John Moriarty, the first recognised Indigenous Australian to be selected for the national football team

Evans herself was beaming after the biggest moment in a budding football career which began playing barefoot with her brother at the age of nine.

“It felt amazing,” Evans told The Women’s Game.

“I really enjoyed it and I loved going out with the team and learning off other experienced players.

“I was feeling a bit nervous but I was excited at the same time. I was looking forward to going out there and playing my best.

“It's pretty intense and hard but it’s great to learn off the experienced players in that environment.”

Click here for more information about John Moriarty Football.

Evans signs autographs following her Westfield W-League debut
Evans signs autographs following her Westfield W-League debut for Sydney FC