Elizabeth Eddy has forged a career highlighted by her versatility. After her standout performances in fullback for the Jets, Eddy may once again find herself shifting positions to cover for a teammate as Newcastle continues chasing a finals position.
A change of position is nothing new to the American import, and with Matildas regular Emily Van Egmond being called up by Tony Gustavsson for the Asian Cup, Jets coach Ash Wilson finds her self in a predicament.
When quizzed about Eddy filling in that hole, Wilson kept her cards close to her chest, commenting “she might be”.
“We have a few options, Liz [Eddy] is obviously an option for the midfield, players like Ash Brodigan, Beth Gordon coming back from injury, we have lots of options within the midfield.
“We are doing some tactical stuff today [Friday] and will finalise things over the next session or two.”
This type of versatility has made Wilson a long term fan of Eddy, revealing that she is a player who she has been interested in for some time.
“That was one of the big reasons that we signed her, I came across her before but we were not in a position to bring in internationals,” the coach said.
“I kept my eye on her, she is the type of footballer that I want to play, she has so many qualities.”Embed from Getty Images
Eddy has been one of the better fullbacks in the A-League Women this season, averaging just under three tackles a game and two key passes. The Jets have also only conceded two goals and kept a clean sheet since her move to defence.
She is an important cog in the Newcastle machine, averaging nearly 90 touches a game. Her impact at the back has not gone unnoticed by her coach.
“She has been doing exceptionally at fullback, and again, the way we like to play her style and her technical ability have allowed her to be really fluid in that position but she brings a lot of attributes that we can use all over the pitch,” Wilson remarked.
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Along with her versatility, Wilson also went out of her way to praise Eddy for her leadership qualities which are invaluable in a competition were promoting youth is paramount.
“Not only having her on the pitch being able to contribute in such a positive way, but also from the point of view of leading and helping the younger ones along,” the coach said.
“It is the nature of her internal drive, how she trains and prepares for matches, it is such a positive influence and such a positive role model for a young environment.
“We do have a lot of young faces, a lot of girls who have only played one or two A-League seasons so that is important for us.”
Eddy is loving life in Australia admitting that she’s “been surfing everyday or twice a day, and I absolutely love it”.
That enjoyment is evident, having translated to strong on-field showings. It is not always easy being the player who has to sacrifice her continuity to plug a hole in the side.
Honest as ever, Eddy commented on the downside of being versatile.
“I would say honestly it is a bit of a double-edged sword, where I love that I can be useful on a team in multiple roles but there is a bit of a difficulty in a sense that different positions around the field require different skillsets,” she said.
Versatility is not something new to Eddy, having also played lacrosse during her college days. There are plenty of advantages of playing multiple sports, she remarked.
“I think playing multiple sports is great dexterity and building up different aspects of athleticism,” she said.
While her preferred position is further up the field, it is a great credit to her character and ability as a player to be such a standout at fullback. With Van Egmond’s spot becoming vacant, Eddy may be able to move to a position which she relishes to occupy.
“I love playing in any position which gets a lot of opportunity to attack, so the midfield and the forward line are my favourite,” Eddy said.
“But back is also fine. I’d say I love playing the attacking side of midfield.”
Despite her personal preferences as a footballer, Eddy is realistic and ultimately a team player who is grateful for every opportunity she receives.
While it has been a constant change of assignment since joining the Jets, she is happy to play where required.
“I would love to stick to one position and focus on it for a while but that is not where my career is at at the moment, so I’ve got to keep rolling along with the punches,” she said.
“If you play sports as a job, you can’t complain that much! Every chance I get to play I’m stoked to be able to take the field.”
With Eddy enjoying such a strong season, on loan from Gotham FC, along with the lifestyle Australia offers, she’s very open to returning to the A-League Women in the future.
“I am loving it so far, I really enjoy the people, the team, the culture here. It has been really fun and something I’d sure consider.”
Eddy’s Newcastle Jets are scheduled to take on the Perth Glory at 6.45 PM, on Sunday January 16 at Newcastle Sports Ground No 2.
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