Alexzanna Budge may not be able to put on the boots this season but it was always going to take more than that to keep her away from Gunnedah FC.
The soccer player snapped her anterior cruciate ligament last year to rule her out for 2018 but Budge was offered the role of reserve grade coach at the club which she accepted.
It puts her in a rare position. A female coach in a male-dominated competition.
“I haven’t come across one,” Budge said of her own experience.
The 27-year-old said she was stoked to be offered the job.
“I’ve played soccer for a very long time and being injured, this is probably my only relationship with the game this year. I’m really happy to be a part of it still,” she said.
However, she did have some concerns in going from a fellow player to a coach.
“It’s a men’s team and being one of the only females amongst that group will be interesting and whether they do take me seriously in a coaching role,” she said.
“I have played with most of them, both in first and reserves, and I think they will respect the situation.
“I wish I was playing, even to fill numbers at the moment, but I think it’ll turn out well.”
Fellow Gunnedah FC coach Andy Cygan – who stepped down from the reserve grade job to focus on first grade – was incredibly pleased to announce Budge as a reserve grade coach.
The duo will work together at training and Budge is equally excited to work with Cygan.
“I really respect him and look up to him,” Budge said.
“Andy is one of the most supportive and one of the best coaches I’ve come across.
“He goes out of his way for everyone, in first grade and reserves. He always puts himself last and everyone else before him.”
Gunnedah FC train at the junior soccer fields on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6.30pm.
Cygan invited anyone to come down for a run.
“We’d really like some of the younger players in town to come and join us,” Cygan said.
“As long as they are 15 years of age they are welcome to play. We have the two grades that are both mixed so everyone is welcome.”