The National Women’s Soccer League might be hibernating right now, but the Westfield W-League is going strong in the land down under. There wasn’t any reason for North Carolina Courage fans to be too excited about the Australian women’s professional league last year, but this year we’ve got three superstars playing in the Southern Hemisphere.
Kristen Hamilton, Lynn Williams, and Denise O’Sullivan have joined the historically woeful Australian squad, and the team is looking revitalized. In conjunction with Kyra Cooney-Cross, the young Australian superstar, the Western Sydney Wanderers have already won their first three matches after winning just a single game in 2018.
Hamilton is having a year
Kristen Hamilton’s situation has gone from low-key role player to superstar in the span of eight months. She entered the 2019 NWSL season as a reserve midfielder/forward, and she ended up scrawling her name in the record books with a four-goal explosion against the Houston Dash. Her role expanded when Jessica McDonald was taken to France for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and she emerged as one of the most efficient forwards in the NWSL. She ended the season with 9 goals and 5 assists in 1313 minutes as the Courage cruised to another NWSL Championship.
After earning her first cap for the USWNT, Hamilton was recruited by the Wanderers, and she’s already making a massive impact on the team. Hamilton scored a goal in her first game with the Sydney team to help vault Western Sydney 2-1 over Adelaide United. She didn’t score in her second game, but she helped anchor the offense in a 1-0 win over the Newcastle Jets. It was clear that Hamilton as a step above her competition in those first two games, but she exploded in her third game with the team.
It was 3:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning when the opening whistle blew in Brisbane, but Hamilton was all set to roll for her new team. In the 10th minute, Lynn Williams took the ball and drove down the left side of the Brisbane Roar defense. She cut the ball back to the top of the box where Hamilton was waiting to finish with her first touch.
The goal gave Western Sydney another lead, and Hamilton was able to score again in the first half. After a flurry of corner kicks, the Wanderers were able to capitalize after a poorly headed clearance fell right to the feet of Hamilton, who slotted the ball home in the 45th minute of the match.
The Wanderers had a chance in the second half when Williams sent a rocket shot into the crossbar past the Brisbane goalkeeper, but it was Hamilton who firmly put the game away in the 64th minute. Cooney-Cross sent an amazing back-heel pass to Hamilton at the top of the box to start the play. Hammy cut the ball inside near the defenders, created some space, and then sent a hard shot on goal. McKenzie Arnold, Brisbane’s goalkeeper, was able to get a hand on the shot, but she couldn’t deflect the ball far enough away to earn a save. With that goal, Hamilton became the first player in Western Sydney history to score a hat-trick. It was also her third hat-trick in nine-months; a better rate than any other American in the NWSL.
The Western Sydney Wanderers will play on the road against the Melbourne Victory on December 7th at 12:00 a.m. ET. If you’re missing professional women’s soccer as much as we are, tune in and watch the three Courage players build a dynasty in Australia.