Harding eager for next two seasons in Red & Black

It’s official, the Dolan Medal winner is staying in Western Sydney!

Off the back of a record breaking season, Sophie Harding has signed a two-year contract extension until the end of the 2025/26 season.

It’s a season that started slowly for club and player, but by the end of it Harding had 12 goals, a call up to the Matildas and selection in the A-League All-Stars to go along with her Dolan Medal as best player in the A-League Women.

Whilst team success is always at the front of the striker’s mind, she admits her individual achievements were very special to her.

“Having that record and having a bit of history at this club to look back on is really exciting. I also think that getting my Matilda’s camp call up was a massive highlight of my career, and it’ll make me never forget the season just gone.”

She is quick to point out how the support network around her, including her teammates, coaching staff and family has helped her not just this season, but throughout her tenure at the club.

“Well, they (my teammates) are all my best friends now, it’s crazy! When I moved here, I didn’t really know anyone, and then every season since then we’ve gotten stronger [and] we’ve gotten closer. Not only on the field, we actually all can tolerate each other off the field, which is amazing.

“I’m excited to see what we can build next year.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 16: Lauren Keir of the Wanderers looks on as Sophie Harding (r) of the Wanderers celebrates with Danika Matos (l) of the Wanderers after scoring a goal during the A-League Women round 20 match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Perth Glory at Wanderers Football Park, on March 16, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

With a solid core of the squad re-signing next season, including Olivia Price and Danika Matos to name a few, there is every chance the only way is up for the Wanderers; and Harding says her close bond with Matos has helped her get through the ups and downs of being a footballer.

“It just helps so much. I think that in football, you go through so many emotional ups and downs, so many good positive moments, but also some really hard moments. So having a best friend like Dee (Danika Matos) on the team is so good. [She is] someone I can go to whenever I need.

“On the field, we work extremely well together, she helps me feel really motivated on the field, but also off the field, I know I can rely on her a lot.

“It helps you know, we’ve got a very good team all around, But having a close friend to do it with is something really important to me.”

The pair both had strong seasons, with Matos winning the Wanderers Women’s player of the year award at the 2024 Wanderers Medal night.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 23: Sophie Harding of the Wanderers celebrates with her team mates after scoring a goal during the A-League Women round 21 match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Western United at Wanderers Football Park, on March 23, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

With Harding recently turning 25, she also reflected on her journey in the A-League Women competition, with next season set to be her fifth at this level.

She says it helps put things in perspective and help motivate her for the future.

“I kind of look back and… I know that I’ve come so far. So it’s kind of exciting for me to look forward and hopefully know that I’ll look back on now and be like, ‘oh my God, I didn’t really know much at all then.

“As I’ve progressed in the A-League, and I’ve learned more things, and I’ve practiced more, and I’ve been in more professional environments and done all the little things right. It’s taken me so far and given me so much to look back on, I think that makes me excited to see at the end of two years where I’ll be then.”