Defender Sam Staab is relishing her time at the Red & Black.
Sam Staab never experienced football outside the United States until she joined the Wanderers.
While the American had heard various things about what to expect regarding the lifestyle and the nature of the league from a number of Australian players she knew, it was understandable that there was a little trepidation about coming to play in the Westfield W-League.
As it turns out, the gifted, young defender needn’t have worried as shown by her quickness to take in the sights and sounds of the city and her cultured performances in the opening month or so of the competition.
Staab, 22, has adapted so well to the speed and physical nature of the league that one would have thought she is a veteran of the W-League.
Together with Alex Huynh, Staab has formed one of the best central defensive combinations in the competition and they are one of the reasons for the club’s outstanding start to the season.
“I am enjoying it some much here, it’s just awesome,” said Staab.
“Sydney is a beautiful city and I have done a lot of exploring, like the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
“I played at (Washington) Spirit with (Matildas) Amy (Harrison), Chloe (Logarzo) and KK (Elise Kellond-Knight) and they told me a lot about Sydney and Australia in general.
“Actually, it is pretty similar to home. I’m from Southern California and the lifestyle and climate are pretty similar. It is just the difference in some words in the language.
“Football wise it is pretty much what I expected.
“It has been really awesome, so professional. The coaches are amazing and the girls are awesome.
“It is everything I could have imagined.”
Staab, who went to Clemson University and got her first taste of professional football with Washington Spirit in the recently completed NWSL season, is not surprised she has been able to have an almost instant impact with the Red & Black.
However, Staab does admit it took some getting used to the lighter balls used in the W-League.
“With the NWSL (in the US), everyone is so athletic, it is so fast,” said Staab.
“It hasn’t been too hard here.
“It has been a bit different in that the games here seem a bit slower and you work in a more methodical way.
“You have to break teams down with different passes and be more patient and play up higher to break teams down.
“Whereas in the NWSL, it’s just like ‘can we out-athlete these teams.'
“Maybe the only problem early on was the balls they use here which are a lot lighter to the ones used in the NWSL.”
As for playing alongside Huynh, Staab has nothing but good words.
“Playing with Alex, it’s really good. We get along really well off the field as well as on the field and that’s really important,” said Staab.
“We have a good combination going and we do our best to contribute to the success of the team.”