Birthday celebrations for Westfield W-League

Ahead of the fast-looming season, the Westfield W-League is celebrating its eighth birthday.

It all began on Saturday 25 October 2008 under a glorious Western Australia sun as Perth Glory hosted Sydney FC. Women’s football in Australia has never looked back.

Created in the wake of the Australia’s breakthrough showing at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Westfield W-League kicked-off with a format similar to the Hyundai A-League which had opened three years earlier.

A star-laden Sydney FC won the opener 4-0 but perhaps only fervent Westfield W-League devotees would recall which player had the honour of scoring the competition’s maiden goal.

Leena Khamis certainly does, because she not only bagged the opener, but collected a double inside ten minutes!

“I don’t remember a lot, but I do remember the goals,” said Khamis, who will be lining up for the Sky Blues once again this season.

“There was a lot of excitement, and just to be part of a big club like Sydney FC was quite special in its own way too, and to be playing in a competition similar (in format) to the A-League.

“So there was definitely nerves but to get the first ever goal so early certainly helped in that regard.

“Funnily enough the TV commentators originally thought it was (defender) Danielle Brogan who scored from the corner. And the team did as well, because some of them went to celebrate with her.

“But it was all very exciting and it is a good feeling that I will go down in the history books as scorer of the first ever two goals in the W-League.

“It had a different vibe and feel (to the former National Women’s Soccer League). It just felt like a more professional league. And to be classed as a female version of the A-League really added to it.”

Sydney’s fairytale didn’t quite comer to fruition that season and they suffered a penalty shoot-out exit in the semi-final against Brisbane Roar, before winning their maiden title the following year.

It did, however, proved to be a special campaign for Khamis, who was never headed on the goalscoring chart and added another slice of history to claim the competition’s inaugural golden boot award.

“It was a really good start in the W-League, and it has been positive ever since,” Khamis says.

“I have enjoyed every season and each season gets better and better, and it has come a long way from season one in terms of quality, international signings, etc.”

Sydney FC will again be front and centre when the new season kicks-off on Saturday 5 November. The Sky Blues visit Brisbane Roar at Dunmore Park in a contest that remains a perennial highlight on the Westfield W-League fixture list.