After the departure of Wellington Phoenix vice-captain Chloe Knott, goalkeeper Rylee Foster delivered a powerful press conference about the current state of the club and it’s women’s program.
“The stuff that’s going on here is better than what I’ve experienced,” the Canadian goalkeeper told reporters.
Foster was speaking on the back of Chloe Knott’s departure from the Phoenix last week. The Wellington vice-captain made the decision to step away from football due to the challenges of working a full-time job alongside her ‘Nix commitments.
Knott had not missed a game for the Phoenix in their history, playing every one of Wellington’s 38 Liberty A-League matches, scoring five goals.
Gearing up for Sunday’s top-four showdown against Melbourne Victory, former Liverpool keeper Foster – who is back playing football two years after a car crash almost killed her – heaped praise on the Phoenix and their environment.
“There’s no hiding the fact there’s been some turbulent moments. What happens behind closed doors isn’t visible to everyone,” she said.
“One moment in our history right it’s kind of showing a light on the negative side that don’t actually happen consistently and our experience is for one player.
“I’ve played at the top level at Liverpool and with Celtic, I’ve experienced some of the top of the top. The stuff that’s going on here is better than what I’ve experienced there.
“That is really important to highlight and show that what has happened and the investment made in this club, although it’s not great yet, its still growing. The women’s side is only three years old. It’s about being patient.”
Wellington have made their best start to a Liberty A-League season.
The Phoenix are third in the standings, four points adrift of leaders Melbourne City through six rounds as they eye their first ever finals appearance.
Foster continued: “We have the opportunity to lay a foundation for the generations to come and the history of this club and the future of this club.
“Making sure we’re vocal about what we need and want but also being respectful and aware of what’s happening behind the scenes.
“Listening with two ears rather than just speaking with one mouth. Reminding the players that this environment is one of the best environments out there. There’s not many clubs that can compete with the facilities, staff and the type of style we’re playing.
“Yes I know wages could be higher. Don’t we all wish that? That’s like any female in any industry. But we’re growing through that system. Time will tell. It’s not just a Phoenix issue, it’s an A-League issue.
“That’s what I keep reminding them – we’re not the only ones. There’s more than just us struggling with that. Just keep an open mind. The game is growing, the women’s game is growing. Being part of that change is important.”