Celebrating 10 years of the Westfield W-League, we chat to our 10 year player Leena Khamis who’s been a member of the Sky Blues’ squad since the inception of the competition.
From the Championship highs to the injury lows, Leena reflects on each of Sydney FC's seasons in the competition.
2008/09: Played 10. Won 4. Drew 2. Lost 4. Finished 4th in the regular season, eliminated in the Semi-Finals by Brisbane Roar (1-1 aet, lost 5-4 on penalties).
“It was the start of the W-League, exciting times. I remember we lost the semi-final in penalties against Brisbane, not a great way to lose. It was different to how it is now, it was exciting but comparing it to season 10 is chalk and cheese in terms of growth with everything. Going back 10 years that’s all we knew then, it was great for all of us and for players in the country, finally we had a national league.”
2009: Winners: Played 10. Won 7. Drew 2. Lost 1. Finished as Premiers, won the Grand Final against Brisbane Roar (3-2).
“We had a really good team this season, a couple of Danish international imports that we recruited. For season two it was pretty big to sign internationals. Now each team has around four internationals, every team has one, but back then not every team even had one. We had a great season, I remember we won the Grand Final at Shark Park it was great. On the back end of the first season we just continued our run.”
2010/11: Runners Up: Played 10. Won 8. Drew 0. Lost 2. Finished as Premiers, lost the Grand Final against Brisbane Roar (2-1).
“We wanted to go back to back, very ambitious. We had another good season but lost again to Brisbane. Those first three years were a State of Origin rivalry and it always has been between those two teams. Lisa De Vanna actually scored the winner in that game.
2011/12: Played 10. Won 5. Drew 2. Lost 3. Finished 3rd in the regular season, eliminated in the Semi-Finals by Brisbane Roar (1-1 aet, lost on penalties 4-3).
“We made the Finals again but fell short. The consistency was there to keep making the Finals Series but it came down to that last game again.”
2012/13: Winners: Played 12. Won 6. Drew 2. Lost 4. Finished 4th in the regular season, won the Grand Final against Melbourne Victory (3-1).
“I did my ACL before that season and Head Coach Alen Stajcic, he’d been my coach for a solid 13 or 14 years, brought me onto the Sydney FC coaching staff and I was involved heavily as an assistant with the team and we won it that year. It was a top Grand Final at AAMI Park. It was a rollercoaster, I wanted to be on the field but at the same time I was still a part of the club, so I was happy we won and I was still a part of it.”
2013/14: Played 12. Won 8. Drew 2. Lost 2. Finished 2nd in the regular season, eliminated in the Semi-Finals by Melbourne Victory (3-2).
“That year, apart from this year, was one of the years where we were the best team all round. We killed it that season, we were unbeatable, and finished second in the end. We lost to Melbourne in the Semi-Final, that one hurt a little, top team playing well and then lost 2-1. We also went to the Club Championships in Japan, came third and played the likes of Chelsea and Colo-Colo, that was a great experience to come up against others around the world and compete against them.”
2014: Played 12. Won 5. Drew 3. Lost 4. Finished 4th in the regular season, eliminated in the Semi-Finals by Perth Glory (3-0).
“I did my knee again that season. Again our Head Coach at the time, Dan Barrett, appointed me to his coaching staff. We made the Finals Series again and it was a big year leading into the Women’s World Cup.”
2015/16: Runners Up: Played 12. Won 6. Drew 1. Lost 5. Finished 3rd in the regular season, lost the Grand Final against Melbourne City (4-1).
“We made the Grand Final after coming third in the league. It was a big one against Melbourne City at AAMI Park, the score of 4-1 didn’t really reflect the game I think because we opened up a bit chasing the game. That one hurt a bit too seeing City go through the streak they did, credit to them though they were a quality team with quality players. City’s introduction set the bar up higher for the other clubs, I think the other W-League clubs saw that and have now tried to match them, now every club is competitive which is great for the league.”
2016/17: Played 12. Won 7. Drew 1. Lost 4. Finished 3rd in the regular season, eliminated in the Semi-Finals by Perth Glory (5-1).
“We had a good season, a good start, it was a bit disappointing the back end of that season, the last three games, as we didn’t claim the Premiership. We were playing so well and had a good season but we got burnt out towards the end.”
2017/18: *Current as of 6/2/18 – Played 12. Won 8. Drew 1. Lost 3. Finished 2nd in the regular season, Semi-Final against Newcastle Jets on Saturday 10/2/2017.
“We had a new coach and a lot of new personnel at the club, different players came in and it was like a new Sydney FC this year for season 10. It wasn’t the best start, a lot of people would have written us off after the first three games, but we always had the belief and the turning point was that Melbourne City game at Allianz Stadium when we won. Since then we’ve gone nine unbeaten, I think that’s a credit to us as a team and the coaching staff and the club. We’ve got the team to do it and everyone is playing with so much confidence at the moment. We haven’t won it as a club for a few years, I think we’re due.”