Even with a potential place at the Women’s World Cup on the horizon, Women’s First Grade player Aimee Phillips is looking to take this year one day at a time.
Phillips only touched down in Sydney three weeks ago but has jumped straight into life at Northern Tigers, playing and training with the Women’s First Grade squad as well as coaching in the Girls SAP program and living with a host family from the club.
“It’s quite early, but I feel very welcomed and like I belong,” she said.
“I will take Tigers very seriously because I really care about the people that have made such an effort with me.
“I absolutely love it all, the programs, the coaching staff, my host family and I love the girls in the team, they’re always willing to help me.
“It’s been an amazing experience already, I’m very happy in Sydney.”
Phillips is currently in camp with the New Zealand national team for the Cup of Nations, which sees the Football Ferns compete against the Matildas, Argentina and Korea Republic across an eight-day period in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
The 27-year-old’s selection came after a trial camp in New Zealand earlier this year, following her playing stints in Serbia, Wales and Germany.
Phillips in camp with the Football Ferns this week.
“I’d worked very hard and been away in Europe for a year to improve myself and not being able to be selected [while overseas] was very frustrating for me,” she confessed.
“Getting chosen was down to a lot of people that put a lot of effort into me to train me the whole year so I was as best prepared for that trial as I could’ve been.
“When I saw my name on that list [for the Cup of Nations] it was a very emotional feeling.”
This is Phillips’ first call-up since November 2017, and gives her a chance to impress new coach Tom Sermanni, who took over the reins in October.
“It’s been an amazing experience coming back into the national environment and very refreshing, working towards the same goal together.
“I’ve really enjoyed the approach [from Tom and his coaching staff], it’s been very positive.
“I don’t know what the plans are in terms of playing time but like every member of the squad I’ll be ready if I’m given a chance.”
Having played in the New Zealand National Women’s League for over a decade and managing playing commitments alongside her work as a teacher, the winger’s career has taken a long journey to reach this stage.
“It’s been hard the last five years when I transitioned from full-time teacher into professional player,” she admitted.
“For me it was really hard to change my lifestyle and create a new identity, and I’ve finally got to the point where football is my passion and I’m at peace.
“I’m really just trying to enjoy every day of 2019 – trying to enjoy the moment a lot more and be grateful for the journey, because at times the journey can be very hard.
“In my path, everything has been hard, but with excellent rewards.”
Aimee Phillips has a Masters in Education and currently runs her own business teaching English as a second language. She is open to any new employment/career opportunities in Sydney, click here to contact her or view her LinkedIn profile here.
The Cup of Nations commences on Thursday, February 28 at Leichardt Oval. Click here for more information.
Catch our Women’s First Grade in their final pre-season game this Sunday against Inter Lions! Kick-off at 3:30pm at North Turramurra Recreation Area.
Photo credits: Dan Ullman – aptitudephotography and New Zealand Football.