Soccer: Melville City’s Evie Gooch named Women’s State Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year


Women's State Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year Evie Gooch
Women's State Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year Evie Gooch

MELVILLE City’s Evie Gooch has capped off a successful season between the posts with the Women’s State Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year award.

After a tumultuous 2015 season, Gooch came close to joining a stream of Premier League women who exited the club but decided to stick around after Melville City elevated caretaker coach Gabby Walker-Ortega to the full-time role.

“After last season I didn’t have high hopes for 2016, things kind of fell apart and our coach left with a few games left in the year,” Gooch said.

“Gabby ended up taking over for the last couple of games and we beat the top team to stop them from wining the league and then drew with the second-placed team; this was after we’d been losing by four or five goals every game.”

Gooch’s decision to remain loyal to Melville City paid dividends, with the goalkeeper conceding just 32 goals in 21 Premier League games, all the while marshalling the youngest defence in the competition.

“The average age of our defenders is around 15 or 16 and I’m 21 which makes me one of the oldest players in the team,” she said.

“We older players really had to step up to provide guidance to the less experienced girls and we’ve really grown together as a unit over the year.

“Comparing our first few training sessions to where we were at the end of the season, it’s a world of difference.”

Gooch also credited her breakout season to regular one-on-one training with FFA accredited goalkeeping instructor Dave Whalley, who added a newfound confidence to her game.

“Once my confidence was up everything else seemed to follow,” she said.

“One of the biggest highlights of my season was our penalty shootout against Queens Park in the State Cup semi-final.

“Throughout my career I’ve always hated penalties so it was the best feeling saving two against Queens Park to win.”

Gooch represented WA at under-15 level and was selected for the Young Matildas before an injury put her development on hold.

She trained with Perth Glory last season and hopes to force her way back into national consideration over the next five years.

“I’d love to make a career out of soccer but I’m also studying physics and nanotechnology so will probably go into engineering if it doesn’t work out,” she said.