Australian women’s national team and former Sky Blue FC defender Caitlin Foord will reportedly be forgoing a return to Sky Blue FC or the NWSL in favor of a stint playing in Japan, according to reports from an Australian news outlet Wednesday morning.
If true, Foord, who was just named Asia’s woman player of the year at the Asian Football Confederation Annual Awards, would most likely be joining one of the teams in Japan’s Nadeshiko league. Ann Odong, founder and editor of The Women’s Game, a website that covers the Australian women’s game, tweeted that Foord was offered a spot with INAC Kobe back in 2011, but no word has been made about which team Foord may be joining.
Caitlin Foord is joining a growing number of Aussies who are looking to Japan (Asia) for their football. INAC Kobe offered back in 2011.— Ann Odong ⚽️ (@AnnOdong) December 7, 2016
The Nadeshiko league schedule runs from approximately March to October, making it highly unlikely Foord would be able to play in Japan and the NWSL in the same season even if she were willing.
Foord joined Sky Blue in 2013 and played for three seasons before unexpectantly missing the 2016 NWSL season. Foord, who was included on the team’s preseason roster (but did not participate in preseason training) only to be missing from the official roster once it was announced. Neither the team nor Foord made an official statement regarding her failure to return for the season.
Foord did undergo surgery in January to repair a broken collarbone, an injury sustained while playing for Perth Glory in Australia’s W-League during the NWSL off-season. However, rumors from various league sources claimed that Foord was not returning to Sky Blue this season so she could staying in Australia to prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, while others were said that she was not returning for personal reasons.
Although it did not seem as though Foord would return to play at Sky Blue again, many fans held out hope despite multiple reports throughout the 2016 season that Tom Sermanni, head coach of the Orlando Pride, was very interested in getting Foord to Orlando to play for him. However, no trade was ever made, and it now appears as though Foord will not be returning stateside to continue her professional career.
During her time with Sky Blue FC, Foord accumulated 4011 minutes over 46 matches played (45 starts) and assisted three goals.
Update: Foord confirmed during a Facebook live interview for the Westfield Matildas, the Australian women’s national team, that she was planning to play overseas once the W-League season is over. She did not mention Japan specifically, but said she was leaning more towards Asia and that she was “coming pretty close to finalizing that” although there was “no secure contract as of yet.” However, she did say was not opposed to one day returning to the NWSL. Foord discusses these plans starting around the 5:30 mark of the video below.