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Kendall Fletcher’s Leadership Shines Bright in Unpredictable W-League Season

At 36 years old, Kendall Fletcher is Canberra United’s most experienced player and club captain.  In a career spanning over 15 years, and playing in three different countries, the American international is one of the W-League’s best leaders.

Fletcher led a youthful squad through the 2020/21 season. After reuniting with head coach Vicki Linton and star striker Michelle Heyman, Canberra United found their way back into the finals for the first time in 3 years.

This season started out like no other. Combating a delayed start, border closures, and rushing their first three games into the space of 8 days was nothing short of a mighty effort!

Canberra bowed out of the competition after a 3-0 loss to eventual runners-up Sydney FC. An overall successful season, Fletcher and her squad have shown a glimpse of what’s to come for the women in green.


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Q: Now that the season has finished, what are your thoughts on the season as a whole?

A: Yeah, look, it has been a bit of a challenge. I think the good thing was, the club did a good job and the coaching staff did a good job of setting our expectations with us from the beginning that this is going to be a season unlike any other. We are not going to know what’s going to happen, we need to just be prepared for that. That helped our mindset, it wasn’t like we were going into anything without even knowing anything. But it has been challenging not knowing when you are going to play, where you are going to play. I think it’s been really challenging for our supporters and our fans and family coming to games. And our time off has had to shift around a lot because you have to base it on when games are played. So that certainly has been a challenge, through the course of the season. It can fatigue you with this happening over and over again. But we [have] just taken it on board and done the best we can with it.

Q: The progress that the team made throughout the season was outstanding, how do you feel you guys went?

A: Absolutely! How we have developed over the season from where we started to now has just been fantastic. And just the resiliency of the group, the way we play together, it’s actually such a fun group to be a part of. To be able to get some results and to see your work paying off has actually been incredibly rewarding. Everyone’s hungry, everyone wants to learn and grow, play their part. I think it has been a developmental season for the league in general, with a lot of internationals not able to come to the league because of Covid, it’s given a lot of different players opportunities and I think we’ve seen the benefit of that [with] players stepping up and developing, and teams growing. It’s been a lot of fun to be a part of that process.


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Q: How has it been to play with such a young team at United?

A: I play next to Jess Nash. It’s like the oldest player paired with the youngest player, but she plays with such maturity. I can’t believe she is just 16 years old. And that’s across the board with so many of the young players. A lot of these players are actually quite young, but the way they carry themselves, the respect they have for the game, the respect they have for the club, and what we are trying to build is really quite inspiring. I’ve just been blown away with the maturity of all our players really.

Q: As the captain, is it rewarding to see all the hard work paying off?

A: That’s really what you want. You want to see things progress and if you get the results out of it that’s fantastic. But that is kind of the bigger picture, the reward is not only getting the results but doing it in a way that you’re proud of and feeling like you are developing and going in the right direction. And that’s a big part of why I’m still playing because I love that aspect of it. Bringing along younger players and being able to share my experience and it is so fun to see players take that onboard and see the results of that.


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Q: What is it like as a player to be a part of a club so close with the community?

A: I feel that’s always been a special thing about Canberra. I think there is a special thing where we don’t have a men’s team alongside us, we are a stand-alone women’s club and Canberra has really embraced us. It’s fans that you see year after year that come back and [has] been invested in team. It’s a community team and you can feel that. It’s really nice to have those moments, like fans coming up to you and saying “great game” or “How are you doing?”, it makes a difference. And you can see in the results throughout the season, the difference in our record home and away. Some of that has to be attributed to our home fans and the atmosphere they bring.


After an outstanding season, Kendall Fletcher was crowned Canberra United’s player of the year by her coaches and peers last week. 

At this stage, Fletcher is still weighing up whether she will return next season and continue her journey with the team she has helped foster.

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