In her first season in the NWSL, forward Veronica Latsko scored four goals (including two game-winners), tallied two assists and was voted the 2018 Dash Unsung Hero. Looking forward to an even bigger second year with the Dash, the third-round draft pick decided to expand her skillset and broaden her horizons – approximately 9,000 miles away in Adelaide, Australia.
One of five Dash players to compete in the 2018-2019 Australian W-League, Latsko will join teammate Amber Brooks on loan from the Dash with Adelaide United. We caught up with the forward to learn what went into her decision to join the W-League, what she hopes to learn on the field during her time down under and what new experiences she looks forward to most.
The decision to join the W-League during the NWSL offseason was an easy one for Latsko, who heard rave reviews about the league from former and current teammates. Additionally, the forward was motivated by a sense to make her second season in the NWSL even stronger than her first, stating “After this past season, I saw a lot that I need to improve on if I want to step up my level of play and I think that this this league…is the perfect place to do that.” However, filling one of four international spots on a W-League team’s roster was not an easy task. “It was a bit of a difficult process in the beginning,” the first year player reflects. “Since this was my rookie year, I didn't have a ton to offer during the early months of the W-League recruitment (April/May) and it wasn't until the end of my rookie season that I was able to get in contact with Adelaide and see what they needed in terms of building a team.”
Choosing to move abroad for a four-month stretch can be difficult for any athlete, especially one so young in their career. Fortunately for Latsko, however, she has several familiar faces making the transition easier for her. First, she credits teammate midfielder Sofia Huerta (who will join Latsko in the W-League) for putting her in contact with the right people at Adelaide United and for “vouching for me and my level of play.” Second, and even closer to home, Latsko finds comfort in having Dash co-captain Amber Brooks as a teammate at Adelaide United, as well. “Having Amber here is awesome. She's an incredibly experienced player and leader that brings a calming presence to any team she's on. She's the perfect combo of an older sister and awesome friend, so I'm really grateful to have her here with me.”
Putting aside any butterflies that may come with the temporary move, the University of Virginia product looks forward to this new adventure filled with excitement and looks forward to new experiences both on and off the field. When asked what she is looking forward to most on the soccer end of things, Latsko states, “I really want to increase my technical skills while I'm over here (first touch, passing accuracy). And with that, I hope to improve my decision-making skills so that I can be better under pressure and more consistent in my game.” The Pittsburgh native also looks forward to being reunited with several of her Dash teammates across Australia – “I can't wait for our season opener in Melbourne and for our first home game in the next couple of weeks. I'm also incredibly excited to see my teammates down here, I miss them so much already and its only been a few weeks since we've last seen each other.”
Lastly, and like most visiting the Land Down Under for the first time, Latsko looks forward to interacting with the locals – specifically those furry in nature – sharing “and OF COURSE I cannot wait to see a kangaroo and koala, I think they are the most adorable creatures and I really hope I get to hold one at some point during my time here. Honestly, I don't think I'd even care if the koala bit me I would still hold one if I got the chance.”