Australia Women news May 29, 2012

Perry told to quit cricket by football club


Ellyse Perry, Australia's dual international cricketer and footballer, has been told by Canberra United to quit cricket in order to devote herself completely to the W-League football club.

Winners of the W-League last season, Canberra has since had a change of leadership. The new coach Jitka Klimkova has made it clear to Perry and club management that she does not want any Canberra players splitting their time between sports.

Perry became the first woman to represent Australia in World Cups in two sports, and currently holds down a place in both the Southern Stars national cricket side and the equivalent Australian football team, the Matildas. Now 21, she has successfully split her time between national commitments since the age of 16.

Perry is among the highest profile female athletes in Australia for her feat, and has shone a strong light on women's sport in both cricket and football. However the Canberra chief executive, Heather Reid, has said that if Perry wishes to improve further she will either have to make a choice, or leave the club.

"We have basically given Ellyse an ultimatum," Reid told ABC Radio. "Ellyse needs to choose whether she wants to be a full-time Canberra United player and commit to training every day like everyone else does, or if she still wants to try and mix her cricket commitments with football. Then perhaps she will need to find another club."

So far, Perry has said she wants to go on playing for Canberra while also continuing to play cricket. However she is open to the possibility of leaving the club in order to find another that is more open to her carrying on in both sports.

''I've been very fortunate to be involved with Canberra United for the last three W-League seasons but there are some changes at the club and the coach, Jitka Klimkova, has some different ideas about how the team needs to be run,'' she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

''I fully respect her philosophy, it's certainly her prerogative to change [how things work]. But mixing my football and cricket commitments doesn't work so well in her framework. It seems I'll have to start looking for a new club.

''It's still a long time until the W-League season begins [in November] so I'll weigh it up between now and then. I still want to play both [sports] and hopefully I can play for a club that allows me to do that.''

Cricket Australia and Football Federation Australia are known to be supportive of Perry's dual status and wish it to continue, as the Matildas coach Tom Sermanni and the Southern Stars chief selector Julie Savage have worked together to juggle Perry between their various fixtures. However, at least one member of the Matildas has spoken out, arguing in favour of Perry making a choice.

''About time someone lifted the professional standards of women's football. Having [a] name should [not] get you in a team,'' fellow Matilda Lisa da Vanna said on Twitter. ''Players and teams deserve better. Hopefully these standards carry on to the national team and performance becomes all that matters!''

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on June 1, 2012, 6:35 GMT

    So a domestic comp soccer coach tells Ellyse to quit international cricket... lol... Considering that Ellyse has played many more internationals in cricket for Oz than soccer & that she also decided to play in the 2010 T20 WC rather than the conflicting soccer Asian Cup shows where her higher loyalty lies... Also cricket has given her many more opportunities to pursue other interests (study, media, higher profile) as well as a financially secure future, it may have been hard for her not to laugh at the CUFC coach...

  • Andrew on May 30, 2012, 23:10 GMT

    First time I've seen more than 10 comments on a women's cricket article!

  • Aaron on May 30, 2012, 14:34 GMT

    I hope for the sake of our national teams she continues to play both sports. She's an absolute superstar.

  • Sinha on May 30, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    So she is being given a choice between playing cricket for her country or football for some club. Shouldn't really be too hard for the girl.

  • Simon on May 30, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    So Canberra won last year and have a new coach who wants to change things. Sounds like a recipe for losing. So Perry will go then the coach will get the boot from the team as they go on the slippery dip. da Vanna was a good player a while back and obviously wants to be the centre of attention. Perry is the centre of attention.

  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    Who's Lisa da Vanna? Seems she's a bit jealous of Ellyse's profile and abilities. All the best with your two chosen sports Ellyse, and unlike Lisa, concentrate on what YOU can achieve for your yourself and your team.

  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    Too easy, Ellyse, find yourself another club. Who'd want to live in Canberra anyway, seriously? Talk about a blessing in disguise!

  • Tim on May 30, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    If Canberra FC played 38 weeks a year, paid a full time wage, etc, the move frm the coach would be understandable. The reports here in Canberra are that she will move to Bling (Sydney) FC and continue to play both sports. Apparently some of the administration are seething that the coach made that particular call, they don't want to lose a key player and major marketing point (Canberra don't have team in the mens A-League). She could be a very cheap marquee player for Sydney FC's womens team. Its rare that womens soccer or cricket rate a mention in the Australian media. Only Ellyse Perry sems to manage it for either sport.

  • Scott on May 30, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    Since the inception of the W-League, Ellyse has been able to play both soccer and cricket at a high level, so well done Canberra, you've basically just handed the W-Leagues Western Sydney team a world class soccer player.

  • Luke on May 30, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    Would be a terrible shame if she left cricket but was pleased to hear she still wants to play both. @kapsy-- what are you trying to say? It's obvious which direction CU is trying to push her in.

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