'Really special' debut goal just the beginning for Sydney's Evans
Shay Evans had only one thought in her mind as she sprinted onto the pitch at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium last Sunday afternoon – enjoy the moment.
“I just said to myself, ‘just focus and go out there and be yourself out on the pitch’,” Evans remembers of her second-ever Westfield W-League outing.
“Before I went on Ante [Juric] also told me to go out there, enjoy myself and have fun.”
Evans took the instructions to heart and the 18-year-old caused the Melbourne Victory defence all sorts of headaches in a destructive ten-minute spell.
Her defensive pressure first saw her win the ball before bursting into the Victory penalty area, only to be stopped by the onrushing Casey Dumont.
However, minutes later the forward was on the scoreboard as she nodded home at the back post for her first Westfield W-League goal.
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“I was just so excited. I can’t really describe the feelings,” she said. “It was just really special.”
“I went out there to put in all the effort I had and play for the team. I wanted to enjoy myself playing how I like to play.”
After moving to Sydney from Borroloola in the Northern Territory to chase her football dream, it has been a whirlwind couple of years for Evans.
Evans not only debuted in the Westfield W-League, winning a Championship, but the forward also debuted for the Westfield Young Matildas and, just recently, was named as one of the vice captains.
That international experience has been invaluable leading into her second season.
“Since my debut, over the past few months, I just really focused on football and put in a lot of effort at training. Working to develop myself as best as I possibly can.”
Equally valuable has been the support of her Sky Blues teammates.
With a host of Westfield Matildas and well-respected internationals, Evans is taking the opportunity to soak up the knowledge and experience available.
“They are always encouraging me. Even in training they are giving me positive feedback and I just enjoy learning of them as so many have a lot of experience,” she said.
“The team was very happy and came up to me and celebrated. They just said what a good job I had done and that they were very proud of me for scoring my first goal.”
It wasn’t just Evan’s Sydney FC teammates who were pleased for the teenager with viewers taking to social media to also express their joy in the moment.
However, for Evans and Sydney FC, the attention quickly shifted to tonight’s clash with Adelaide United.
The defending Champions have enjoyed a strong record over the Reds, dropping points in only two of their 16 encounters. Despite that record, Evans says Sydney FC won’t be taking Adelaide lightly.
“For us a team we just need to re-focus and continue to play well as a connected team.”
“We need to keep up the intensity against a team like Adelaide. We want to continue to the good start.”
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