Cassidy Davis is living proof that if you work hard the pathway is there to reach the elite level in Newcastle.
That is why she continues to play in Northern NSW Football’s top-tier women’s league instead of heading to Sydney for what is commonly considered a stronger level of winter competition.
The 23-year-old was a fresh-faced teenager playing for Lake Macquarie in the Herald Women’s Premier League when she came to the attention of Newcastle’s W-League coaches in 2013.
Davis earned a start with the Jets that year and has gone on to entrench herself in a side which this year were on the verge of making history.
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Last month, Newcastle made the W-League semi-finals for just the second time in the competition’s 10-year history and the Jets did not die wondering as, with only 10 players for 75 minutes, they came painstakingly close to securing the club’s first ever grand final berth.
Davis now turns her focus to Herald Women’s Premier League, where she is player-coach of 2016 champions and 2017 minor premiers Warners Bay.
It is a role the Jets community liaison officer relishes and continuing to play in a league which acted as a pathway to W-League for her is extremely important.
“It’s more about getting this league stronger and trying to improve girls in Newcastle,” Davis said. “By playing in a stronger competition then hopefully they will get the benefits and one day go on to play W-League too.
“That way we can have more locals girls in the W-League and more girls will stay and play in Newcastle because it’s a strong competition.”
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Davis is one of five current W-League players in the 2018 WPL, which starts on March 11.
Jets teammates Tara Pender, Jenna Kingsley and Tara Andrews are all committed to stay and play.
Pender, who is based in Sydney and is travelling to Newcastle three times a week to train and play, and Kingsley will take the field for Warners Bay. Andrews has signed on to help lead new club New Lambton.
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“I think travelling to Sydney is too much when you can get as much out of it in Newcastle,” Davis said.
“If you push yourself and work hard then you can get the same benefit as you would in the Sydney competition. Obviously there are quite a lot of quality players in the Sydney league but it’s all about how you play yourself. There are some strong teams in WPL this year and a lot of good players who are still playing W-League or who have played at a high level and have come back.”
Davis has made over 100 appearances in WPL and more than 60 in W-League and is the youngest WPL coach.
“I enjoy being able to coach in the WPL as well, it’s something I want to pursue further in the future,” Davis said. “It gives me the experience of coaching but it helps me develop as a player too.”