Sydney’s Flying Bats Football Club has called on the resources of the globe to field a team at the 2nd Asia Pacific Outgames in Wellington this week.
The lesbian soccer team was forced to call in reinforcements after the sport was a late addition to the friendly week-long sporting event and its members were unable to make up a complete team.
Of the eight players in the team, only five are from Sydney. The other three are from London (Alice Twaite); Canada (Percy Lezard) and Melbourne (Helen Stevens).
But the handicaps facing the side this week are even greater than that. Not only are the Bats made up of players from around the globe, the first time they played as a team was during their first match at Te Whaea Park this morning.
In addition, the Sydney team is the only international team in the women’s competition, with the side facing three well-established teams from the host city in the round robin event.
“Women’s soccer was only added to the program in December, so it was difficult to pull a team together at late notice,” Bats spokeswoman Danielle Warby said.
“We’d been pressuring the organisers to include the sport, but when they did it was late in the program.”
Twaite flew into Sydney for Mardi Gras this year, then headed to the Outgames earlier this week. She met Bats member Devon Indig at a women’s soccer party last year and decided to stick around after this year’s Mardi Gras festival and head to New Zealand.
Lezard, the side’s goal keeper, found her way into the Bats after her pet sport, softball, was not included.
“I already had tickets to come, so I just looked for another sport to play in,” she said.
“I played in the same softall team as Helen (Stevens) at the Gay Games last year,” she added by way of explaining the connection.
Stevens said the decision to join the Bats for the Outgames campaign was a simple one borne out of her relationship with the Melbourne Rovers gay soccer team.
“I decided if I couldn’t find a lesbian softball team in Melbourne to join, then I’d hook up with the Rovers … or switch over to the Glamourhead Sharks and take up swimming,” she said.
Australia is also well represented in the men’s soccer competition, with the Star Online-sponsored Sydney Rangers taking on the Melbourne Rovers and Wellington’s first ever gay soccer team in a tight round robin competition over two days.