You could say it has been a Glory-ous season for former South West Academy of Sport soccer player Natasha Rigby, who has wrapped up her first term as captain of Perth Glory.
The Margaret River-raised soccer star stepped into Sam Kerr’s boots at the beginning of the 2019/20 season to make her debut as skipper of the Westfield W-League team after her predecessor took up a contract with English giants Chelsea.
This year also saw Rigby clock up 50 games in the purple jersey.
“It’s been one of the most rewarding and challenging six months of my life,” Rigby said.
“I’ve loved every minute of it.
“I have had an incredible bunch of girls who have been so supportive throughout the whole thing. And our team culture has been nothing short of amazing.
“The leadership side of it has given me so much perspective and understanding of what it takes to be responsible and take on that accountability as well.
“It’s been a huge learning curve for me.”
The 27-year-old is proof that regional athletes can ascend to the top levels of the game, saying she loved growing up in Margaret River where she played for the Strikers and Hot Shots.
“I loved the environment and the community vibe that I think resides in country towns,” Rigby said.
“I think the way I was brought up and the community that I was brought up in has helped shape who I am today.
“I think the only reason I am able to be lucky enough to be able to play for Glory and captain the team is because I always try to have a positive attitude and try to take every glass half full.
“I don’t think I would have that outlook on life if I hadn’t of been brought up in the country.”
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 19: Natasha Rigby of Perth Glory in action during the round six W-League match between Melbourne City and Perth Glory at ABD Stadium on December 19, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)
Proving she hasn’t forgotten her roots, Rigby gives back by coaching the Dunsborough Bandits, a junior girls team who compete with the boys.
“I know as a young one growing up down south, I had some amazing coaches that came through and they helped me and the player I was,” Rigby said.
“I just want to give back to those younger girls and also I just love kids – and I absolutely love country kids because they are the most beautiful things ever. So, it’s an honour for me to be able to coach them.”
PERTH, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 13: Natasha Rigby of the Perth Glory enters the field with her mascot during the round five W-League match between the Perth Glory and Canberra United at Dorrien Gardens on December 13, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/Getty Images)
The Bandits were among those who came along to lend their support to Perth Glory when they took on Western Sydney Wanderers at Bunbury’s Hay Park last month, saying Glory received fantastic support from the community.
“It just brings everyone together and it was really emotional for me,” Rigby said.
“I thought it was definitely the highlight of my season. I really enjoyed it. It was awesome to be able to give back to the South West as well as Bunbury.”