Westfield Matildas great Clare Polkinghorne will share her vast experience with some of Queensland's most talented young footballers when she begins a coaching role with the Queensland Academy of Sport program in 2021.
The long-time Brisbane Roar star starts work with the QAS Under 17 group in January after accepting an invitation from QAS Head Coach Garrath McPherson.
Polkinghorne, 31, boasts over 100 caps for the Westfield Matildas, winning the AFC Women's Asian Cup in 2010 and been a key figure in multiple FIFA Women's World Cup and Olympic Games campaigns for the national team.
She has also won two Westfield W-League Premierships and two Championship titles with the Roar.
Polkinghorne said she was looking forward to handing down lessons gained on the pitch during her long and successful playing career.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to start getting some coaching experience but also it’s a great opportunity to help the next generation of Queenslanders coming through the football ranks,” Polkinghorne told footballqueensland.com.au
“I don’t get to spend much time during the year at home in Brisbane so it will be nice to be able to hopefully have a positive impact on younger players starting out their football careers.
“I have learnt so much over my career, about myself and what it means to be a professional footballer and hopefully I will be able to provide some guidance to the players.
“One thing I would like to share is around controlling the controllables. As an athlete there are things you can control and things that are out of your control. It’s the things that you can control such as work ethic, attitude, nutrition, recovery, that will have the biggest impact on your direction as an athlete.
“It’s not always easy, especially at a young age, but I think it’s really important.”
The Under 17 side Polkinghorne will be assisting competes in the NPL Women’s competition and forms part of Football Queensland’s wider talent pathways for women and girls.
Polkinghorne’s new role represents something of a throwback for the defender, who joined the QAS aged 14 and made her Westfield Matildas debut while still involved with the system.
“The QAS program was where it all began for me and I couldn’t have asked for a better environment to kick-start my career,” she said.
“The program was set up a little bit differently when I was involved but I think the impact on players both on and off the pitch is the same.
“To be back in the program, albeit in a different capacity, I am really looking forward to being involved, learning from Garrath and the other coaches, and providing support to players coming through.”