16/04/2024

Canberra United's Ellie Brush (Picture: A-League Women's, Design by Madeline Irwin)

A practising physiotherapist as well as an accomplished football and Australian Rules player, Ellie Brush retires from elite sport after an illustrious sporting career.

Starting her football career at Canberra United in 2008, Brush hangs up the boots almost 15 years later at the same A-League Women’s club that she has become synonymous with.

Having won two Grand Finals and three League Championships with Canberra, Brush retires as a bonafide club legend. Playing for the Houston Dash in the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) and the Matilda’s in the international sphere, Brush has accomplished some incredible feats through her career.

Ellie Brush spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum about her career highlights and what retirement looks like for her.

“I think playing those few seasons for the Houston Dash in the NWSL in America has got to rate up there,” Brush told The Inner Sanctum.

“I went over there as a relatively unknown Australian player, and I was just sort of given a contract on a one-year basis and was able to do really well in that first season which was that 2015 World Cup year. It was when a lot of the players were away from their club sides and with their national teams for the World Cup, and so I came into Houston Dash pretty late.

“I think I went over there when somebody was pulled out for their national team duties and I was only able to do that because I missed out on that Australian team but I made the most of going and being able to get there.

“I actually won the defender of the year for the club in that season and then managed to get a second year out of that deal where a lot of other Aussies at the time, a lot of players were actually cut or released by their clubs.

“I found that really was a really big highlight to be able to make it like that in Women’s Football across the world with that league. The other highlight was being able to play for Australia and being able to play for the Matilda’s.”

Ellie Brush in action for the Houston Dash (Picture: Houston Dash/Website)

Starting her career out with 99 consecutive games for Canberra United, Brush retired having notched up over 150 games for both Canberra, the Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC. She spoke about how she got the most out of her body and how the league can use this to prolong the careers of its players.

“I suppose I’ve been driven enough to play this long and I think that there is a bit that has lead to that, I’ve learned individually to look after myself really well [but] it might be that I’m in a position on the field where you might have a bit more longevity,” she said.

“I suppose in terms of what clubs can do, I’ve tried to really keep a good relationship with the clubs so that in the off-season, which is quite a long time, I’m able to access [the] gym and coaching and those sort of services to get through that part of the year.

“That’s a huge thing for clubs is [if] players aren’t on multi-year contracts, then they are not under the contract or agreement or responsibility of that club for the off-season [and] then it can be hard for that player to stay connected or get the support or the things they need to be able to get through to the next season.

“The onus is a bit on the player for that circumstance, but maybe clubs in the future can look to have those contracts extended from year to year rather than a cycle of season to season because it’s a pretty difficult way to go.”

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With a career that has spanned over 15 years, Brush is looking forward to more time with family as well as being able to dedicate more time to her life away from football. She explained what she is excited about doing after giving up playing the game.

“Hopefully [it will mean] a lot more family time, trips away on the weekend and next summer [I will] be able to have an actually summer [holiday]. I don’t think I’ve had an actual summer Christmas break since I was about 15-years-old,” Brush explained.

“Then professionally I’m a physio as well, so being able to devote my time a bit better and to able to give that some more love without having to rush off to training.

“[I could] pick up a few more hours there and really immerse myself in professional development and being able to take that on as my proper career as it could be.

“I can’t see myself completely falling out of the game either, I’ll play something at some level, you know I just love playing sport so I’ll always sort of do that whatever that may be.

“[In terms of] soccer [I might do] a bit of coaching, which I’ve done in the past, I enjoy aspects of that, maybe not the head coach of an A-League team at the moment but I really enjoy that sort of thing or even one on one coaching and mentoring of players and young girls in particular.

“[I could end up doing] some commentary stuff as well, I’ve just done a bit of a training course up in Sydney learning how to do some audio descriptive commentary and potentially do some of that for the World Cup which is a different avenue as well.

“[It’s] something I’ve really enjoyed and keeps me in the game and also able to pass on some of my knowledge, I’d really like to be able to do that with either commentary or coaching is certainly something I’d love to do in the future.”

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