Louisa Bisby, a true pioneer of women’s football

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The NPLW Gold Medal is the highest individual honor a player can achieve in the statewide competition and on Monday, September 5, Football Victoria will crown its first winner in three years due to COVID-19 .

The merger of the Victorian Soccer Federation and the Victorian Women’s Soccer Association saw the birth of the gold medal in 1999 for the best player in the Victorian Premier League, which is voted on by match officials after each game.

Since the medal’s inception, two women have won the award consecutively; Tiffany Eliadis of South Melbourne in 2013-14 and Catherine Zimmerman of Calder United, but only one player has won gold three times – Louisa Bisby.

Louisa Bisby won her first gold medal in 2000, her second in 2003 and her third in 2011, showing her longevity in the game with 12 years separating her first and last winning season.

Bisby began her footballing journey in 1993 with Aston Villa before migrating to Australia where she had a tremendous junior career, which included a tour of Holland (Australia U18 team) and then a trip to Iceland with the Australia U21 team for participate in the Nordic U21 team. Cup.

The midfielder first made her mark on the Victorian football scene in the rebranded Women’s Premier League for the Brunswick Zebras when she was part of back-to-back Premiers from 1996-97.

The merger of the Victorian Soccer Federation and the Victorian Women’s Soccer Association in 1999 led to a boom in participation in women’s football in the junior and senior ranks.

The following season, Bisby played for Ringwood City’s premiership team and won his first gold medal.

“We’ve had a really nice year and a great season,” Bisby said.

“The team was a strong team made up of national and national team players and our coach at the time made training enjoyable but also intense.

“I didn’t expect to win the gold medal, I just wanted to enjoy the game and continue to develop as a player. It was a good reward for my hard work.

Louisa Bisby at the 2012 Pelada Cup

In 2002 Bisby played professional football for Sichuan FC based in Chengdu, China before returning home and along with her Ringwood City teammates she moved to Box Hill Inter.

She enjoyed instant success at her new club winning her second gold medal in 2003 to coincide with her side’s triumph as Premier.

“We had a good race as a team for sure,” she said.

“Winning my second gold medal in a year as Premier was pretty special, but I was more concerned with being a team player and helping others on the pitch succeed”

After a successful stint in the NPLW, Bisby moved to Europe in 2004 to play semi-professionally with Germany-based Brauweiler Pulheim until 2006.

“I loved playing in Germany because it was a very competitive league and when we didn’t have matches we could travel and explore other German cities or travel to neighboring countries,” Bisby said.

“It was a great life experience. I was able to learn German, be independent and discover life in another country and another culture.

On July 22, Bisby earned his first Matildas cap in Australia’s 1–0 loss to New Zealand at Coffs Harbour.

Bisby returned home to Melbourne in 2008 where she joined Box Hill Inter, culminating in WPL Championship glory in 2008.

“It was a really good experience,” she said.

“I had been to many camps before, but that’s when I won my first official selection.

“Looking back, I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to represent Australia.”

In 2008, she was also part of the Melbourne Victory A-League W first team, where she played 22 games and scored one goal from 2008 to 13.

While playing for Melbourne Victory, Bisby continued to play for Box Hill Inter during the NPL season and in 2012 she was again named the league’s best player in a Premiership season.

“We had a great season and the Grand Final against Bundoora United FC was probably one of the most memorable games because of the competitiveness and the high number of goals scored. The penalties ended up being decisive”, she recalls.

“2012 season was the most enjoyable, I won the gold medal and the medal count was so close with Enza Barilla. From memory it was a vote or two between us. She had a solid season – an excellent player.

Although her career on the pitch is coming to an end, Bisby still has a massive pulse on women’s football in Australia.

Earlier this year, Bisby was named manager of the Young Matildas team, just four weeks before the 2022 U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.

Prior to his appointment to the National Youth Team, Bisby spent over 12 years at Melbourne City, first as Head of Game Development for Melbourne Heart FC/Melbourne City FC for 6 years and then the following years as as responsible for the welfare of the players and the women’s A-League team. Manager (Operations and Logistics).

Bisby’s greatest memories at Melbourne City were winning the inaugural season with Joe Montemurro, the staff and helping many senior A-League players (men and women) move and settle in Melbourne and helping them off the field while they were at the club.

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