Ellie Carpenter had heard all about the National Women's Soccer League.
The 18-year-old Canberra United defender had seen her Westfield Matildas teammates go to the United States and thrive - setting an example she wanted to follow.
And buoyed by her fantastic Westfield W-League 2017/18 Season, which saw Carpenter named the NAB Young Footballer of the Year, she decided to roll the dice and try her luck.
She set a slew of records in the United States with Portland Thorns, becoming both the youngest player to feature in a NWSL match and youngest scorer in the competition’s history.
The experience was a deeply positive one for Carpenter and, now back in Australia’s capital, she feels comfortable sharing her lessons learned with her Westfield W-League teammates.
“I think it helps a lot [playing overseas],” she said.
“Playing abroad this year over in Portland, it’s nice to bring it back to the W-League and share what I learned over there.
“In my Portland Thorns team, I had a lot of world-class players from the US national team, the Canadian national team.
“So I think every week I was either defending or playing against a world class striker.
“It’s a privilege to play alongside them and it’s even a challenge to play against them week in week out.”
Carpenter is hopeful her tricks of the trade discovered in the United States will help Canberra United qualify for the Westfield W-League 2018/19 Finals Series.
And a big 12 months seems likely for Carpenter, with the Westfield Matildas defender desperate to feature in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in France.
“Everyone who plays football watches the World Cup,” she said.
“I watched the girls in 2015 and it looked like an amazing experience. I’m just trying everything that I can do to be selected in that squad next year. Hopefully I’ll be there in France.
“You can’t be complacent at all and someone’s always there behind you, trying to take your spot.
“So you always have to be at 100% on and off the field, and give it your all every time you’re out there.”