17 July 2012
Interview with Aussie striker Emily Gielnik from the Chelsea programme
Emily Gielnik has come a long way to play for Liverpool Ladies – in fact, more than 10,000 miles.
A new signing for the 2012 WSL season, Emily joined Liverpool in April, from Brisbane Roar in the Australian W League. Emily, a striker, joined Liverpool after a prolific season for Brisbane Roar, where she was the league’s second highest goalscorer with nine goals.
She said: “I had a great season in the W League and really enjoyed it, but I was ready for a new challenge. I especially wanted to play in an overseas league and experience living and playing in another country – and Liverpool’s about as far away as you can get from home.
“When I heard that Liverpool were interested in me, it was such a great opportunity that I knew I had to say yes. People all around the world have heard of Liverpool Football Club and I’m so excited to be playing here.”
Emily’s sporting career began on a very different path as she wanted to be a basketball player. She was introduced to football at the age of 12 and soon found that she had a particular talent for the game.
Emily said: “Once I started playing football, I loved it and was keen to get involved in playing for a proper team. I joined a local club after trials and carried on training and playing.
“The system in Australia is that you work up to play for the state and I eventually played for Queensland, before I joined Brisbane Roar.
“Football’s becoming more and more popular every year with girls across Australia. The W League teams do a good job of promoting the game with their local girls’ teams and it helps to drive attendances and boosts the teams’ support. It’s good to see that the same thing is happening here.
Emily’s performances in the W League saw her move up to the senior Australia national squad. She has been selected for international friendly games in Japan during the WSL summer break.
Emily said: “I moved up to the national team with around 10 or 12 other players and it’s been great for my game. It’s important to me that I’m involved with the national team, but I know that I’ll only be picked if I’m playing well for Liverpool so that’s my number one priority.”
“Playing here is also helping to improve my game. The standard of the WSL is very high and I’m working hard to adapt to it.”
It’s not only on the pitch where Emily is settling in well, she’s also taking to life in her adopted hometown where she lives with Liverpool Ladies’ other southern-hemisphere signing, Aroon Clansey.
She explains: “It’s my first time living away from home so there’s been a few teething problems and culture shocks, but I’m feeling settled now. It helps that I’m living with Aroon who’s also in the same situation.
“Off the pitch we spend a lot of time at the gym, in the supermarket and on the rare occasion that the sun is out, tanning in the back garden! I love going into the city centre, there’s always such a good atmosphere and something going on and more often than not, you’ll find Aroon and me in Bold Street Coffee of an afternoon.
“My teammates were all so welcoming from the start and I really appreciated it. I’ve got the Scouse accent mastered now too, it’s like I’ve always been here!”
Yet, it’s on the pitch where Emily’s focus lies and she’s training hard to adapt to the new league and her team. Her work is starting to pay off and she got her first goal in Liverpool Ladies shirt against Chelsea away in the Continental Cup.
“It’s taken me a while to settle into the team and the type of football played here is quite different so I’m learning with every game. I really want to help the team to push on up the table and secure points by scoring and creating more goals.
“There’s real talent in this team but we all know we’re not playing to our full potential. Everyone has a good relationship on the pitch and with more understanding things will come together. We’ll be able to build some momentum for the rest of the season – we know we have a lot to prove.”