Jess Fishlock column: Making history at Melbourne and returning to Wales

Jess Fishlock

I have certainly had worse 24 hours in my life than winning the Grand Final with Melbourne City and then being named in the Wales squad for the Cyprus Cup.

It has been a great experience for me to be involved with Melbourne and winning the Australian Women's Grand Final against Perth Glory is another career highlight.

We made history by being the first team to retain their title and that is phenomenal.

To fly away from home and win it 2-0 truly was one of the best feelings I've had in a long time.

The big difference for me this year is being involved as a player-manager, rather than just a midfielder.

Is it a hard adjustment to make? Absolutely. It's very hard to deal with.

Fishlock trophy pic
Jess Fishlock (right) celebrates winning Australia's Grand Final

So rewarding

It's very mentally and physically draining, but it's equally very rewarding in different ways.

When the final whistle went at the weekend it made every second of the season worthwhile. The juice was definitely worth the squeeze.

Being a manager is a very difficult thing to do and you have to have a very good group of players and coaches for it to work. Thankfully and luckily we did have that.

I have thought about getting into coaching, but the way this came about was more to do with circumstances than anything else.

Our head coach (Jo Montemurro) went into our men's side as an assistant and I stepped up. It was a natural thing, really.

We were so far into the season that it was probably going to be the least disruptive for everyone involved.

I didn't think twice about it when the (Melbourne) City group asked me to do the job.

Equally I knew that it would be OK with the group that we had, because we have a very, very good group of girls.

The best of both worlds

For me, at the stage of my career, this is the best of both worlds.

I want to learn how to coach and how to develop as a coach and I believe I'm in the best place for that.

But I'm not anywhere near retiring right now so I'm still playing and loving my football.

I believe coaching educates me as a player as much as me learning as a coach pushes me out of my comfort zone.

Jess Fishlock
Jess Fishlock made her full Wales debut against Switzerland in 2006

Wales return

After an absolutely amazing experience in Melbourne, I head home soon to meet up with Wales ahead of the Cyprus Cup.

I'm going to stay with Wales for another campaign after briefly considering international retirement and am really excited to get back to prepare for our World Cup campaign that will start later this year.

My experiences with Melbourne can stand me in really good stead for Wales and my American club side Seattle Reign.

I just go as a player to those camps, but I do have experience in leading groups and being a good person who helps when they're in a bit of trouble or being successful.

The experience of this whole campaign I've just had with City is probably one of a kind.

A future in coaching in men's football?

I certainly want to continue in football beyond playing, but who knows if the opportunity will ever be there to coach in the men's game.

I think it'll be a lot easier for women to go into the male game in the future, in the right environment, as I had in Melbourne.

At Melbourne, everyone believes in and supports each other and the crossover between male and female is very similar and even.

In that environment I can't see it being a problem. But that environment is not replicated all over the world.

Some clubs would be very receptive to a female coach, other clubs less so.

But luckily, that is not something I have to worry about for a good few years yet!

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