Not many international footballers have graced the field of Queanbeyan’s Riverside Stadium, but Chris Yip-Au will call the stadium her home ground for the next 18 weeks after the Singaporean representative signed with Monaro Panthers.
The diminutive midfielder has a wealth of international experience, representing Singapore for the past nine years, playing in the AFF Women’s Championship and AFC qualifiers and coaching the u19 Singapore’s national women’s team.
Yip-Au came to Canberra in 2016 for a Singapore national team training tour at the AIS which she said left a lasting impression on her, causing her to jump at the first opportunity to come back.
The 25-year-old said the decision was made easy when the Panthers offered to use her international experience to coach the u13 girls team this season while also playing NPLW.
“Coaching is a passion of mine. Throughout college, I was coaching and studying at the same time,” Yip-Au told Region Media. “I love coaching because I can interact with players and to give back to society by teaching them my skills and knowledge.
“I want to help people become better players and even better people.”
Yip-Au has been a part of Singapore’s international football setup since she was 14-years-old and has official Asian Football Confederation coaching badges, despite picking up the sport as a teenager.
“Football is not a very big sport in Singapore,” she shared. “It is a very small country and we do not have a huge core of players. We are fighting with other sports to get people playing football.
“When I first got into football, I didn’t really like it. At high school, we needed to have an extra-curriculum activity so I chose sport and tried football.
“When I first tried it, I didn’t like it but I thought since I chose this sport, why not try my best at it? Now it has brought me to many different places.”
The attacking midfielder was an integral signing for Monaro, who are in the process of rebuilding their national premier league women’s side. 2018 was a vast improvement for the Riverside club, who picked up more points, scored more goals and conceded fewer goals than the 2017 season.
Head coach Ian Worthington focused on recruiting a strong international contingent to help the club contest for top-four, signing three Solomon Islands internationals along with American striker Kaitlyn Joy and Yip-Au.
Yip-Au said the side took some time gelling throughout pre-season but was confident the side would be a force to be reckoned with this season.
“From what I know, most of the players from last year left so it is like a new team so we are still learning to work together,” she shared. “It is getting better through trainings and we are starting to understand each other more and it is getting easier to play with each other.
“I am just looking forward to the start of my first game.”