McComasky taking the road less travelled

Madison McComasky is currently living out the dream of many young aspiring footballers by playing week in week out for her hometown club, but she has taken a road less travelled to get there.

After finishing high school and with no immediate prospects to advance her football career at home, McComasky took the plunge and jetted off to the other side of the world to play football in the United States college system whilst studying.

The 23-year-old admits she lacked a concrete plan at the time, but is pleased with the decision she took.

“When I finished school, I didn’t really want to go to uni here, and I thought, ‘Oh, well I can continue playing while I’m over there and get a degree.’ So I was very fortunate enough to get a full scholarship to go and study and play.

“I was just like, ‘I may as well try it’, and I think I was very fortunate where I landed and the experience that I had.

“If anyone asks me about it, I’m like, ‘yeah go and do it!’ [It’s] just just [a] once in a lifetime [experience]. I grew so much as a person, on the pitch and off the pitch.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 14: Madison McComasky of the Wanderers clears the ball during the A-League Women round 12 match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City at CommBank Stadium, on January 14, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jeremy Ng/Getty Images)

McComasky spent four years in the United States with various college teams in Texas, and returned to Australia in 2022.

She was initially worried about finding her place in the Australian football circuit, but she found her way quickly back home thanks to an old Under 16s coach.

“I remember getting a random message from Stephen Peters from [Macarthur] Rams, and he just said… ‘what’s your plan?’ I just got on the phone and chatted to him, and then he was just like, ‘Well there’s a spot at Rams if you want to come play here. At the time, I didn’t really have any other option so I jumped on that straightaway.”

She played alongside future teammates at the Wanderers Beth Gordon, Melissa Caceres and Sham Khamis, and despite joining after the season had started, she quickly became a key cog in the side, playing 19 games for the side, including in a victorious Grand Final, where she netted in the penalty shootout.

Her form didn’t go unnoticed in the A-League Women, as Canberra United secured her services for the 2022-23 season.

She played six games as Canberra missed out on the finals places on goal difference, and she returned to Macarthur Rams in the offseason as she played 23 times and helped lead her side to another Grand Final win.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 26: Madison McComasky of Canberra in action during the round two A-League Women’s match between the Brisbane Roar and Canberra United at Perry Park, on November 26, 2022, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

She then got the opportunity to represent her hometown club in the A-League Women, and it was a chance she would pass up.

It wasn’t an easy start individually or collectively, as a coaching change just days from the first game of the season and some difficult first results dented confidence, but the team has since gone on a brilliant run that has left them in the finals positions.

“The start was very chaotic. I really wasn’t sure if I was going to get game time and that sort of stuff. I did start the first few games. and I think I did well, but you know, probably wasn’t the most confident.
Robbie [Hooker] coming in, and changing how we play a bit, It did a lot for me and my confidence.

“And I think the girls here at the team, they’ve done a lot. It’s a very good environment, everyone is really, really close.

“The way I’ve been playing, I think I’m getting better with each game, and that’s a lot to do with the players around me.

“I just feel very, very comfortable to express myself and do things on the field.”