The Ottawa Fury Women’s team looks to clinch their Central Conference title this Saturday as they host Laval at the Algonquin Sports Complex at 3pm. Coming off an impressive 4-0 win over London at home last Saturday, the Fury Women just need 1 point to clinch their conference this Saturday, however for a team as motivated and focused at the this Fury team is, a win and all 3 points is the only option. They currently sit atop their conference with 25 points and a 8-0-1 record.
I talked to Ottawa Fury star Lisa-Marie Woods, a veteran player who has played in several leagues around the world, and is currently on her fourth stint in Ottawa, where she plays during her off season at Adelaide United in the W-League Australia. Although she is unavailable this weekend, Woods discussed what is behind the team’s success this year and how they have been able to record such an impressive record through a difficult schedule.
The W-League that the Fury Women play is in somewhat different from the system that most football fans are used to. The W-League allows for the players to sign on during the off season from other teams, without needing loan agreements and transferring of contracts. This allows for players to play all year round and keep up their fitness, training and mental strength. Woods expanded on its importance, “ I have however really valued this off season time here both on and off the field. Ottawa has become special to me, and that is why I have recommended others coming here also over the years. I rate the W-league as a good summer program.”
Another unique aspect of the W-League is the scheduling. The league see the women play a lot of games in a very short amount of time, with the Fury Women playing three sets of back-to-back games as well as 3 games in 5 days. When asked about the schedule Lisa Marie said “Back to back games are challenging physically and mentally, but the kind of challenging I like.” Woods is a very motivated player who enjoys playing 12 months of the year. She continued, “It is a way to push limits a bit and also to see how we tactically can come out of games like that as a team. Luckily we have a lot of strong players on the bench also, so if we get tired we know that someone of quality comes in to fill your position.”
The Women’s Fury team is a team filled with very strong and experienced players such as Woods, and her Adelaide United teammate Kristy Moore, who bring a lot of guidance to the squad, as well as young stars such as Kadeisha Buchanan, Ashley Lawrence and Bryanna Mccarthy whom all play for the Canadian Women’s Team. The team also has star American defender Arin Gilliland, who leads the team in points and just this past weekend received an Inspiration Award at the The Collegiate Women Sports Awards in Los Angeles.
The team of women was put together at the beginning of the season and not many of them had played with each other before, however they have gelled together well and continue to improve. “The more time the girls get together the better we are going to play as a team.” Woods had to say. “That's also why you see us performing better and better as we go along in the conference. It is a challenge here with such a short and intense season to really click as a team, so what we do outside of the field is also of importance to learn to know each other.” The girls spend a lot of time bonding both on and off the pitch, going for walks with each other before games and forming strong relationships with each other, an obvious factor behind their success.
Ensure you make it out to Algonquin College this Saturday at 3pm to watch the girls try and clinch the title! They also play at 3pm on Sunday vs Quebec, also at Algonquin. You can follow Lisa-Marie Woods on twitter (@WoodsLisaMarie) as well as on her blog which tracks her time with Ottawa Fury in 2014 here:http://www.womenssoccerunited.com/members/lisa-marie-woods/