Former Aussie player boosts Pride coaching ranks
WESTERN Pride have added another Ipswich footballing hero to its ranks after former Matilda Bryony Duus agreed to become inaugural National Premier Leagues under-17 girls' coach.
The former midfielder will also be senior women's assistant coach to long-term Ipswich and international teammate Belinda Kitching.
Duus came up through the ranks of Ipswich community side Coalstars before embarking on a 47-cap international career which took her to the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup.
More recently Duus has worked in behind-the-scene roles at the Australian Institute of Sport and currently the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
A chance encounter with Kitching at a Masters tournament brought her back to Ipswich.
Kitching said she had known Duus since they were both six years old.
"We played together from juniors in Ipswich, as inaugural members of the Queensland Academy of Sport football program, and right up until the Matildas," Kitching said.
"So when I met her again recently I said how good it would be for two old Ipswich footballers who had made a name for themselves to inspire the next generation."
Kitching invited Duus to run a session at Pride's recent trials and was impressed with the results.
"The feedback I've had from the girls is they do not want anyone to baby them," Kitching said.
"Bryony is very good at getting her messages through and the players are happy and excited about that."
The pair made their Matildas debuts in 1996 before their shared playing history ended a year later when Duus sustained a major knee injury playing in the United States.
By the time Duus fully recovered Kitching had played her final international match at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup finals.
Duus went on to make the 2003 World Cup finals alongside Matildas legends Cheryl Sainsbury and Melissa Barbieri, as well as future Western Pride men's assistant and caretaker coach Karla Reuter.
Kitching said Pride's young players would benefit from Duus' experience training and playing at a high level.
"She also will bring pride in herself, her ability, and her home city," Kitching said.
"I think together we can build something at Pride which can be quite wonderful."