Brisbane Roar Westfield W-League Breakthrough Player of the Year Indiah-Paige Riley says the only way is up after an impressive first season in orange.
The teenager made her Westfield W-League debut in the Roar’s 1-0 win against the Wanderers in Round 2 of the 2018/19 season before going on to make ten appearances during the campaign, also bagging her maiden top flight goal against the Wanderers at Dolphin Stadium in December.
Riley’s strong showing in her debut Westfield W-League campaign earned her a call up for the Young Matildas side that qualified for the 2019 AFC U-19 Women’s Championship in Thailand last month.
The Young Matildas qualified courtesy of convincing victories over Nepal, Myanmar & Uzbekistan in the space of five days in Myanmar last month.
Riley, who scored in the team’s first up win over Nepal, says the qualification tournament, played in testing conditions, had been a valuable experience for her side.
“It was really good, the conditions made it tough, we said from day one that everyone has to deal with the conditions and play our game and clearly that worked for us, we qualified,” Riley said.
Riley, who earned a Westfield W-League contract off the back of an impressive winter program, as well as being a key member of the NPLW Championship-winning BRFC/NTC squad, is back for a second winter campaign.
The 17-year-old says the winter program provides the perfect platform for young players to make the jump to the Westfield W-League.
“It’s really good, it gives the players opportunity to be seen by [Head Coach] Mel [Andreatta] and it’s good for them, it provides a great opportunity to earn a contract,” Riley said.
“It’s also another good experience for the young girls to open them up to playing with more experienced players. I learned so much from them and hopefully they can too.”
After a stellar first season in orange, Riley says her focus is to keep working hard as she aims to keep developing and building on a breakout campaign.
“It’s pretty surreal that I got given the award [Breakthrough Player of the Year], but I’m grateful and hopefully I can do it again,” Riley continued.
“It’s just an honour to play for this club and play around the players that we had last season and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
“I’m focusing on getting reselected for the Young Matildas and getting another [Westfield] W-League contract.”