Courtney Halpin first joined APIA Leichhardt FC eight years ago when the club was playing in the State League Women’s competition.
Since then, the goalkeeper has been an integral member of the club’s journey to the National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s top tier competition.
Halpin initially started her career at the Marconi Stallions where she played for 10 years before moving to APIA in search of more game time.
“I had a group of friends [at APIA] and I just followed them along. We were losing every game but I think the atmosphere was being around friends and getting to enjoy it,” Halpin told Football NSW.
Halpin added that whilst the atmosphere was good when she first joined, this failed to translate to results on the pitch as personnel began to leave.
“There were coaches leaving, coaches coming. It was shocking. I was playing on the field and I enjoyed it even more because I was scoring goals upfront. It was a good time back then. Once we filled out the numbers I ended up going back in goals.
“We now have players wanting to be at the club whereas when I first started no one wanted to turn up to training. We were getting 3 players for training sessions.”
Halpin spoke of the big changes that occurred once Matteo Maiorana and Alex Cicco took the reins of the club’s women’s football program.
“It’s now just a completely different place [to back then]. Alex and Matteo changed the whole club around.”
When asked about what keeps her coming back each year, Halpin said
“The dedication towards the club. The coaches, the players as well. It’s such a family.”
One of her fondest memories was against Sydney Olympic in her second season.
“They had to win to make the semis but they lost that game and I scored from my own 18-yard box. It went in the other end and I was like ‘Wow.’”
This all came full circle when the two sides played each other in the “Festival of Football” at Lambert Park earlier this season.
“It gives me goosebumps talking about it. Going up against Olympic, being where we are now. They used to carve us every day, but having the competition against them was good.”
On her role this year, Halpin said that she relished the opportunity to integrate younger girls into the senior squad as part of the Reserve Grade team.
“When they struggle, I’ll push them. You gotta just be there and be supportive.”
As to whether she would continue beyond this season, Halpin said that the cancellation of the season complicated things and that she was “50/50.”
“I’ve had my good years in 2018 and 2019. I’m there to have fun and enjoy it. I’m 31 now and I love to train.
“There’s always a way for me to come back. If I was to leave I would miss it and wanna come back. At the moment, I’m not too sure.
“If APIA ask me to come back I will, but if they don’t then I know my time is up.”
Irrespective of whether Halpin stays an APIA player come 2022, it is clear that her legacy in helping the club be where it is today will be remembered well into the future.
-By Will Konstandinidis