Beats & Rhymes FC

Chloe Logarzo interview: Matildas midfielder’s front seat on the tour bus to anywhere

 

Australia midfielder Chloe Logarzo would love to be the archetypal dependable player for her team, although with a first shot at European football with Sweden’s Eskilstuna United DFF just the latest new entry in the Olympian’s ever-developing picture, predictability is generally becoming all the more unrecognisable to the 21-year-old.

Pulling on the armband for your country is a privilege at any level, and it wasn’t too long after Chloe did just that for Australia’s Under-20s, the Young Matildas, that her capabilities were acknowledged with an introduction to the senior side. The energetic midfield prospect had debuted for Sydney FC at 16 in November 2011 and had a Championship to her name by the time she won her first cap in a win over China in Wollongong two years later.

The Sydneysider’s international inauguration wasn’t plain sailing. She now looks back on those tentative steps with the Matildas and realises that certain areas of her approach needed refining for her to gain a foothold at that level.

The USL W-League got to see her promise in living colour as she won the competition’s Rookie of the Year award after shining for Colorado Pride in 2014. A lively past couple of years has also seen her start afresh in an Australian W-League sense with the Newcastle Jets, while her re-emergence with the national team was strong enough to take her all the way to an Olympic quarter-final in Brazil.

A recent move to Swedish top-flight runners-up Eskilstuna United means it is now the UEFA Champions League lying in wait for Chloe as she looks to unlock different depths to her game. Uncovering exciting sounds and scenery has really been an overall theme for her, whether she’s grasping the initiative in finding a new footballing landscape, or grabbing the wheel for a trip of another kind, as she describes.

“I went to a festival in Melbourne called Beyond the Valley. It was just myself and a friend that went and we just bought a van, put a bed in the back and went to this three-day festival, it was awesome.

“The van was very run-down; it was an old Toyota, I can’t remember the actual name but we bought it from a surfer and he named her ‘Ruby’. We spray-painted her matte black and did a few changes, installed a light with a switch and replaced the battery and she was good to go.”

 

Behind the music: The seasoned festival van known as Ruby!

Behind the music: The seasoned festival van known as Ruby!

 

The most prestigious stop on the way so far for Chloe was undoubtedly this summer’s Rio Olympics, in which she wore the green and gold at the Matildas’ first Games appearance since Athens 2004. Playing in each of the four matches, her competition culminated in facing the hosts with 52,660 in the Belo Horizonte crowd for a last-eight encounter which went the distance.

The Brazilians may have come through 7-6 on penalties but the tournament had been another stride forward for an Aussie side that now rightly ranks as one of the most exciting in the world. Chloe was a scorer amid the tension of that shootout, and in more recent times she has started to make tangible headway toward finding her true role in the bigger picture of international football and indeed her own career.

Her travels inside and outside the game of late have most definitely had the flavour of a world tour, with stops off around Asia and Europe to add to club and international football endeavours. Wherever she goes, she has her own individual sound style she turns to for moments of relaxation, motivation, focus and much more besides.

“I think music does play a part in every day; I use it to relax and wind down and that’s why I listen to acoustic music. I think my taste is quite different to everyone else; I’d say acoustic is 99 percent of what I listen to.

“I like Ben Howard, Matt Corby – my favourite song of his is ‘Brother’ – Passenger, Frank Ocean. I really like Xavier Rudd ‘Follow the Sun’ as well.

“Jessie J ‘Who You Are’ is my game day song. I’ve been to Eminem, Chris Brown, Hilary Duff, Pink, and I also saw Beyonce and Jay-Z in New Orleans, which was unreal, it was so cool.

“I went to a festival in Manly and saw The Jungle Giants, who are another of my favourites.”

For anyone who’s along for the ride when a band or artist hits the road, you have your part to play in the show – a spot within something on a much grander scale. The places Chloe takes in are constantly bringing that connection with people and uncovering previously hidden dimensions to herself, whether that’s in learning new customs and cultures, or getting to study an alternative style of play.

In the women’s game at present, Aussies can be found in a range of leagues and nations. Like Chloe, Matildas midfield teammate Tameka Butt is in Sweden, over to the west of the country with fellow Damallsvenskan team Mallbackens IF.

A roommate, captain and mentor to Chloe, as well as the player she replaced when coming on for her first cap, vastly experienced forward Lisa De Vanna has also played in Sweden, with AIK and Linköpings FC. The recent Orlando Pride player advised her to go somewhere where she could benefit from an increased technical approach to the game, to add to her all-action style.

 

Chloe (right) receiving her international cap from Matildas attacking great Sarah Walsh. instagram.com/chloelogarzo

Chloe (right) receiving her international cap from Matildas attacking great Sarah Walsh. instagram.com/chloelogarzo

 

Chloe arrived with a late run to the back post last weekend to grab her first goal for the 4th-placed Eskilstuna United and a Champions League last-32 tie with Scotland’s Glasgow City comes next. But for a stint with Colorado Pride, Chloe’s previous club experience was back home in Australia, so what took her to Tunavallen this time?

“I was looking for a club before the qualifiers for the Olympics, I wanted to venture out and my coach with the national team (Alen Stajcic) sent some emails out to a few clubs. I was talking to one of the other teams in the Swedish league, Mallbackens, and I was going to sign for them but it fell through.

“I got an email from Viktor (Eriksson), the coach here, and he said he’d seen me play and liked me as a player and so it went from there really. It’s a lot different living here compared to when I was in Colorado and I was living with a host family.

“Here, I’m by myself in a one-bedroom apartment, I have four or five teammates in the same block and it’s fabulous. It feels very professional.”

One of those in the Eskilstuna ranks is Swedish international Olivia Schough, an accomplished attacking talent but also one of the notably gifted songstresses in the women’s game. The 25-year-old was the featured player on here last March and she certainly had music running through her upbringing, performing alongside her dad in the past, while her sisters even released a song for Euro 2013.

With the Matildas, Chloe has been around her own family with a music edge or two. From the likes of Lydia Williams in goal and throughout the team, they have plenty who come alive when the songs play, and it was one of the team’s defenders and Orlando Pride players Chloe highlighted.

“Everyone does love music and plays it at every possible chance, on the bus etc. One of the most musical people on our team is Laura Alleway; she’s got a really versatile mix, whether it’s 80s, top hits, acoustic.”

Called into her first Under-20 camp in the same year that brought her full debut, Chloe first played for the Matildas at senior level under Hesterine de Reus and went to the 2014 Cyprus Cup. The Dutch coach left her role the following month and was replaced by Alen Stajcic, initially on an interim basis before he took the position full-time.

Chloe looks back on the first knockings of her international career as an elevation she wasn’t able to capitalise on at the time. With her one-time Sydney boss Stajcic in charge, she got another shot, stamping her mark in the AFC Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Japan and remaining in the mix ever since.

She still carries the memories of her early days with the full team and the same is true of her time with a much younger group, as she showcased some lyrical capability, much to the surprise of some!

“When I was away with the schoolgirl team, I had to rap and I did Eminem ‘When I’m Gone.’ I think everyone was really shocked that I knew all the words!”

Chloe had been a student at Hills Sports High School at Seven Hills, where Matildas teammate Kyah Simon used to score goals, while Stajcic was also once the coach. Chloe had been far from guaranteed a place on the soccer program back then, but the improvements she made each year proved her inclusion more than justified.

Back before she had her acoustic pearls locked down on the playlist, her music was altogether more bubblegum…Marshall Mathers apart!

“I think the first CD I ever had was a ‘Summer Hits’ collection. Growing up, I liked Eminem, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls.

“I had an older sister growing up so she had an influence on what I listened to.”

Season nine of Australia’s W-League is in the offing and will get underway next month. Although no official announcement has yet been made on whether she’ll return this time around, Chloe already has five different seasons in the league to her name.

In her second year (2012/13), she helped an exciting Sydney side with the likes of Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord and Kyah Simon to success, scoring three along the way with a double coming in the 4-0 win at Adelaide United. Stajcic’s team took the fourth and last Finals place and Chloe played almost all of the 3-1 Grand Final win against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.

She has had the benefit of being around players who’ve come to understand a lot from being in the game, in a sporting sense and in a much wider one also. Two of those in particular were her Sky Blues teammates.

“There’s a few who’ve taken me under their wing. At Sydney, our centre-back Danielle Brogan, before I even made the team she was always telling me information and instilling confidence in me.

“I remember I had a trial and I had a one-v-one against her and she told me after, ‘You could have pushed that past me and beaten me with pace. Next time, I want to see you do that.’

“Even when I was playing against her for the Jets and she was with Perth Glory she was still giving me advice after! Renee Rollason also took me under her wing off the field.

“She works for Football New South Wales and she got me a job there, so I got to work with her and we trained together and she kept me in line.”

 

 

In Chloe’s third season at Sydney, the defending champions had the firepower of England’s Jodie Taylor, the W-League’s top scorer with ten. Regular-season runners-up, they were beaten in the semi-final by eventual champions Melbourne, but they had flown the W-League flag in sky blue during the season as they competed in the International Women’s Club Championship in Japan.

In Okayama, Chloe made her first start of the year as Sydney put Japanese runners-up NTV Beleza aside before facing Chelsea in the semi-final. The clash with their English opponents ended in a 3-2 loss but the team then came third after a shootout win over Chile’s Colo Colo.

The next league campaign, in 2014, was Chloe’s last at Sydney and it brought a semi-final before she joined Newcastle Jets for 2015/16. Seeking some reinvigoration, she was part of a Jets side that came 6th, just three points off the Finals positions.

Her time as a Sky Blue may have come to its natural conclusion but it was an incredibly significant era for her. She thinks back to some of the musically-wired teammates from those Sydney days.

“Heidi Makrillos was one and also Servet Uzunlar when she was there, she’s a huge Beyonce fan. At the Jets, AJ – Adriana Jones – is really into music, Cassidy Davis also.

“I think Servet probably stands out the most because she’s so enthusiastic about Beyonce. Sian McLaren from Sydney FC also has a really good voice and can play guitar.”

Like Falkirk-born Sian McLaren, Chloe has a Scottish background, on her mother Kim’s side. Her Italian heritage comes from her father Joe’s side and her family support in Brazil for the Olympics included her grandmother from the town of Rofrano in Italy’s south-west.

In revered former Matildas keeper and captain Melissa Barbieri’s January 2013 feature on here, she picked out Andrea Boccelli and Eros Ramazzotti as her favourite Italian artists as well as recalling her father singing as he played cards with friends when she was growing up. Those were the melodic coves ‘Bubs’ shared of her Italian origins and upbringing, and Chloe also had a little of that, though admittedly clouded in a bit of mystery now when she thinks back!

“Most of the get-togethers with my family just involved people talking a lot! There was a song my uncle played, though, and I wish I could remember what it was.

“I remember the CD had a mouse on the cover!”

In 2014, Chloe went to play her football in Colorado Springs and further afield, as she represented Colorado Pride in the USL W-League. The competition, which sadly folded late in 2015, had its share of now-notable players during Chloe’s season in the league, including Katie Stengel, Rachel Daly, Sarah Killion (all LA Blues) and Yoreli Rincón (New Jersey Wildcats).

Runners-up in the Western Conference, Pride were narrowly beaten 2-1 by LA Blues in their Conference playoff at Patterson Field in Los Angeles. Chloe hit her stride on her way to league Rookie of the Year honours and enjoyed that feeling of simply expressing what she could do and not having to overthink.

She made sure she left her mark with the club, who played this year in the inaugural United Women’s Soccer season, and it was an overall time of special value in her life so far.

“I loved Colorado. I went hiking and camping a lot, I spent 4th of July camping and they have an open-air, all-natural amphitheatre called Red Rocks where I was lucky enough to see The Fray and it was unreal.

“I think it was a big point for me and it opened my eyes to really wanting to play football. Living there, away from home, I was living in a host family but it also made me grow up.

“It was a great confidence boost for me.”

In certain major tournaments around the world, altitude can have a considerable impact as many teams participate who simply don’t have to contend with it on a regular basis. In Colorado Springs, for example, the altitude reaches 6,035 feet, so teetering on the edge of asking an obvious question, was it a big aspect of Chloe’s time in Colorado?

“For sure! It’s unbelievable, I try to explain to people what it’s like and how hard training in it is.

“Once you get used to it, though, it makes you so much fitter. I’d go back there just to train.”

 

A light pre-match stroll during Chloe's time in Colorado!

A light pre-match stroll during Chloe’s time in Colorado…

 

At the Pride, Chloe had compatriots in Australian head coach Daniel Clitnovici and teammates Tara Andrews and Ashley Spina. She has of course had some players on her side before now from different parts of the world, but for this next question she kept it all-Aussie.

Asked who’d be on a cover version of a song with her if she had her pick of any career teammates, she went with another midfielder who, like her, came through with Sydney FC and also captained the Young Matildas.

“I think my really good mate Olivia Price would jump on that bandwagon and we’d do Red Hot Chili Peppers ‘Under the Bridge.’”

Maybe it may take some time for them to master that one to quite the same standard as Anthony Kiedis, Flea and the rest, but their rendition of the song’s famous choir vocal especially would be worth a listen! Dedication to Chloe’s footballing craft, meanwhile, is obvious, and although some coaches might pinpoint it more than others when they devise their tactics for her, the attacking side is an area she undoubtedly has in her game.

In Eskilstuna’s last game of September, she arrived late to put away her first goal for the club in the 3-1 win away to Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, but what if she had the chance to practice her shooting one day with anybody in the sport?

“I’d probably go with David Beckham because I’d love to know what goes into his technique. Cristiano Ronaldo also plays how I want to play with how good he is on one-on-ones and stuff like that.

“Marta would be another one because of her technique.”

Five-time FIFA World Player of the Year and still one of the first names widely associated with the women’s game, Brazil forward Marta undeniably brings with her a profile and a mystique beyond the norm, and it’s easy to see why so many still look up to her. In August, Chloe and the Matildas went head-to-head with her side in a Belo Horizonte cauldron of home support for the Olympic quarter-final.

They had knocked Brazil out of last year’s World Cup in the last 16 with Kyah Simon’s late winner in Moncton, though this presented its own unique challenge. Before the game, the team had been given some inspiration and advice by Sydney 2000 gold medallist in beach volleyball, Natalie Cook, who shared her experience of playing against Brazil with a 30,000-strong home crowd rooting against her.

Cook had said she managed to convince herself that the support was actually for her, though Chloe could perhaps have been forgiven for forgetting to use that tip when she was called to come on for Steph Catley after just 20 minutes. Despite Chloe smashing one off the crossbar on 85 minutes, the game yielded no goals, with a subsequent penalty shootout in which even Marta was unsuccessful, as Lydia Williams saved her kick.

Chloe had converted her penalty in front of what she describes as the biggest crowd she has ever faced (52,660) but the hosts ultimately came through 7-6. Finding solace after such an experience is outrageously tough for supporters, let alone the players and staff, but the Matildas had stirred the emotions of so many again and unquestionably pushed on once more an Australian women’s game that has risen immeasurably since that Cheryl Salisbury’s finish nestled in the Canadian net at the 2007 World Cup.

Told in years gone by she wasn’t tall enough or strong enough to progress in the game, it would have been fitting for that to flash through Chloe’s mind for a second as she joined the elite band of Australians forever to be noted as Olympic athletes. As well as the Brazil battle, she had also played in the opening group loss to Canada, the ultimately gutting 2-2 draw with Germany in which they’d led until the closing minutes, and the 6-1 victory over Zimbabwe.

On her collarbone, she has the number 188 tattooed in Roman numerals in honour of her individual number in Australia’s cap list and she still feels a sense of magical bewilderment at earning her place on the greatest sporting stage this year.

“You kind of have to stand back and think, ‘Wow, I’m here.’ It was a massive learning curve.

“It didn’t feel at the time like we were in the most prestigious sporting event in the world. Before I went, I only had six caps and I hadn’t played against the likes of Brazil and Germany and experienced up close how cultured they are in the way that they play.

“I had been used to playing other teams and so it was a huge change. Off the field, it’s unbelievable to be there.

“It’s something you dreamed of and amazing to think that there could be someone out there watching me and looking up to me like I did when I was 11 years old. It’s something I’ll always have, to say that I’m an Olympian, no one can take that away from me.”

 

 

While she worked at Football New South Wales with teammate Renee Rollason, Chloe would visit young players during the week as part of her developmental role. Defender Ellie Carpenter was the youngest member of the Olympic squad at 16 and the Western Sydney Wanderers player is like a sister to Chloe, who has even helped with teaching her to drive.

In Chloe’s Eskilstuna contract, she says it states that a bike is her mode of transport, which may not quite be up to it when the next festival comes around (‘Ruby’ went straight to the scrap yard after Beyond the Valley…). However she travels, this time in Sweden is likely to be a spell in her career and life she always reflects upon, no matter where the years take her from here on out.

With a trip to a real-life Swedish IKEA now proudly ticked off the bucket list, stepping out in the Champions League is a prospect just days away. Earlier this year, Chloe moved back to Sydney and played for the North Shore Mariners, linking up again with a one-time Matildas assistant and Young Matildas head coach in former Manchester City defender Spencer Prior.

The game is at the centre of so much for her, although when it comes to the spare time outside it, she isn’t short of ways to fill it with colourful settings, interests and aspirations.

“I started a degree in horticulture with the ambition of becoming a landscaper. I’ve also backpacked all around Asia and I did a scuba diving course in Thailand and actually stayed and did an advanced course.

“I then went on to do it in Italy and Malta. I would love to dive at the Great Barrier Reef – just need to have some time off!”

For the infinite amount of ways there are in life to have fun, getting out on the pitch on any given day and seeing that ball bounce for the first time will always be something pretty special to anyone who truly loves football, so that’s where we end here. In each interview, the player gets to picture stepping out in their own 5-a-side lineup, with any teammates from their career eligible to make up their selection.

It is not necessarily about picking an outright ‘best’ four, so we are just looking for a flavour of the many teammates the respective player could go for. Backing up this All-Aus outfield is a 23-year-old Western New York Flash keeper straight out of Maryland. A Colorado Pride teammate of Chloe’s, you just might see her lining up alongside her again one day.

“I would pick a mate from America in goal – Britt Eckerstrom. She’s just a solid keeper and I wanna bring her to the W-League.

“I would have Heidi Makrillos from Sydney – she’s really good at indoor football and is a tidy player. Sam Kerr because she’s a good finisher and just always knows how to score.

“I would pick Mini – Katrina Gorry – she’s skilful and she’s got an incredible shot that I wouldn’t want to stand behind! I’d definitely want her in 5-a-side.”

To catch each of these interviews, you can follow me: @chris_brookes

You can also like Beats & Rhymes FC on Facebook and stay up to date

Post Navigation