• US Import Kendall Fletcher is kitting up for her seventh W-League season in 2016-17 (Getty Images)
After seven years in the A-League, Western Sydney Wanderer's import Kendall Fletcher has experienced first hand how far the league has come.
By
Ann Odong

16 Dec 2016 - 11:10 PM  UPDATED 16 Dec 2016 - 11:13 PM

the 32 year-old North Carolina native is happy to be considered an honorary Aussie after returning year on year to play in Australia's top women's competition.

“I certainly feel an ownership of the W-League,” said Fletcher. 

“I’m a massive advocate for the league and what it’s trying to do for Australian players and for the Matildas.” 

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With 70 appearances in the W-League at four clubs -  Central Coast Mariners before moving onto Melbourne Victory, Canberra United and Western Sydney Wanderers - the utility player has player her part in the evolution of the W-League. 

Fletcher has had a front row seat to the development of some of the W-League’s stars including 15 year old Caitlin Foord, 16 year old Stephanie Catley and now 16 year old Ellie Carpenter. 

“It’s really fun to see that growth of those players and feel like you have been a small part of their success,” she said.

“On the international stage, I take a lot of pride in how the Matildas do and always cheer them on.”

However, the W-League has not only assisted the development of Australian players but Kendall credits it with her own football growth. 

“It is such a wonderful league down here.  After being here a season and seeing how much better I got, the influence it had on me as a player, I saw the value in it and became an invaluable tool for me as a player.”

“We have a competitive mentality in the US and we play the game at a fast pace.  Down here in Australia there is a bit more creativity, there is a bit more freedom to do things on the ball.”

“It gave me more confidence and taught me things about the game which I never would have learned had I stayed in the US.” 

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That confidence has shown and in the States Fletcher has grown from a player uncertain about her starting prospects to a central figure in one of the most successful NWSL teams; two time shield (premiership) winners, Seattle Reign. 

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“Every year in Australia is different but it’s wonderful. It has now become a second home."