Interview

‘I’m so happy to call Arsenal my home’

Steph Catley is right where she wants to be in north London. 

Not only is she developing and growing as a player under the guidance of Jonas Eidevall, but she’s also surrounded by players and staff who have given her a home away from home in Australia. 

We spoke to Catley after signing a new contract - and this is what she had to say:

on signing a new contract…
It feels absolutely incredible. I’ve been here for two years now and I’ve made some incredible friendships and feel right at home here. I’ve been through some tough times and some great times, and I feel like I’m growing so much as a person and as a player. I’m just so happy to call Arsenal my home for another few years. 

on what she had to consider before signing…
There was a lot. I think when you are signing anywhere there’s a lot to consider, but I think the main one was me as a football being in this environment, I just feel myself growing every single day. I’m around incredible players, the training sessions in themselves are challenging, and you learn so much every day, and that for me leading into a World Cup next year and other big tournaments like that as well is just where you want to be. I think as well the people I’ve met along the way have just made things fun and enjoyable here, and it feels like home. 

on the team spirit and unity in this squad…
I definitely feel that here more than I probably have anywhere in the world. The friendships that I’ve made here do feel like family and it’s so fun to come into work every day. I look forward to seeing the girls and getting out on the training field because we’re always having a laugh and we’re always together. On the field you know they’ve always got your back, so I feel safe here in my team and like I can grow to be a better person and a better player too. 

on the WSL being the place to be…
I’ve 100% felt that and even more so now that I’ve been here a while. I think I knew it coming in, but now I’ve seen it, it’s just another level. Playing in the Champions League, all the different cups, and the league itself is so tight this year,  and with the quality of the players that are coming over now, there’s nothing else like it. The standard even here at training every day is something I’ve never experienced in my career before and I’m very grateful to be here at one of the top clubs in the league. I’m happy to be staying. 

on her development as a player since joining the club…
It’s been a bit of a slow progression. Obviously coming to the club and getting injured on my first day of pre-season isn’t how you ever want to start life at a new club, but I think experience and that year with all the challenges that it brought has made me a much better player, and I think it’s probably prolonged my career in a sense because I know my body so much better now and I know how to get the most out of it and what it needs and how to be ready for every single game. I think in that sense it’s made me a much better footballer and a much stronger athlete and person as well.

on life under Jonas Eidevall…
He’s been great. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him as a coach and as a person and I feel like I’m learning something new every single day. He challenges me in different ways, there’s always something to improve on and something to get better at, but he also instills belief in you as an individual and I can feel that when I’m playing. He’s been great for me personally and good for the team as well. 

on how keen she is to lift her first trophy with Arsenal…
Probably too keen! I would really love to achieve something with this team. I think we really deserve it and the football we’ve been playing in the last few weeks in particular has been really, really good. I think we’re in a good spot to push on and do something.

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