Box Hill United senior women’s midfield playmaker Grace Norbury revealed how her recent USA stint helped her bring a “winning mentality” back to Australian shores.
Norbury, who started 2019 playing for Box Hill’s ladies, left for North Texas to join Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) outfit SouthStar FC. Six weeks and 10 games later, she has since returned to Wembley Park, bolstering the Box Hill ranks with her newly-acquired experience.
The 19-year-old said, “Going to America was a great experience. They all play at such a high standard. Training was at a high intensity there. I have learned a lot, and am trying to bring that back into our club’s vibe, keeping the intensity up, because that’s how we want to play as a team.
“Definitely, you need to train at the same intensity that you want to play at. Training is where you get your bases and the grounds for your games. Playing with people who all feel the same way, was good. Just to learn that winning mentality [helped as well].”
Norbury was part of the Australian Schoolgirls side that lifted the 2018 Social Winter Cup in Los Angeles, USA. She reasoned this prior experience helped her cope with the rigours of her latest venture.
“Yes, that definitely helped. I knew that what I was getting into, was going to be tough. That was going to be a lot different to here,” she added.
In Norbury’s absence, Box Hill went from strength to strength, progressing to the 2019 Nike FC Cup final and are currently just two points adrift of a top-four spot, with two league matches left.
The young midfielder said she was bursting at the seams to slot right back into the scheme of things following her Box Hill return, “I was really motivated, especially coming back when they are in such a good form. I just wanted to get back in there and start winning with them.”
Norbury, who has recorded 18 NPLW appearances this season, said of her Box Hill colleagues’ progress, “I can see that playing as a team, we are playing much better. They obviously had a good run when I was away, and I think that has continued.
“We are playing heaps better that at the start of the season, gelling [much] better, and I think it is going to be bigger things next year.”
Norbury also deflected praise on Box Hill’s U/19 girls Erin Keyt, Gabriella Eggleton and Laura Pickett who have since been promoted to the senior fold, as well as the signing of striker Emma Langley.
She noted, “It’s great for the U/19s. Everyone else can see that there is a pathway from the juniors to the seniors. They deserve it – they are all doing extremely well when they come up.
“Having new people coming into the team is always good. You have got to keep fighting for spot, [and] it provides for good competition. It’s good to have a bench that we know can come on and do just as well as the starting-XI, and fit in straight away.”
First image courtesy: Matt Johnson