England rugby league player Charlotte Booth on her move to Australia, leaving teaching behind and how she's already thinking about her return
England rugby league star Charlotte Booth jets off to Australia today saying it's a dream come true - but it's not been without a few wobbly moments.
Booth, who was at Leeds Rhinos for two seasons, is the first player from the Women's Super League to sign for an Australian club - she heads to Brisbane to join the West Brisbane Panthers on a two-year deal.
The former Bradford and Leeds player is moving on her own, leaving her family and friends behind in England. And she admits Skype will be a useful tool early on into the move.
"They [my family] have been supportive. I think they are torn between being excited but also being sad I’m leaving.
"It’s a long time to leave my little sister and my brother has recently had a baby boy. I’m going to have to spend a bit of time on Skype but I’m sure we will cope."
When NewsChain last caught up with the 26-year-old she was talking of becoming a science teacher in 2020 but now those plans are on hold.
She said: "If anything that was the hardest decision about the move. I’ve been working at a great school in Leeds who I really saw a future with in terms of teacher training.
"The decision came down to the fact that teaching will always be there, however my playing career won’t be. I’m keen to teach one day and feel like it’s in my blood to inspire some little humans, just maybe not right now."
Her new club will be paying Booth to play for them though the full-back has said she will still need to work seperately to keep her head above water.
Panthers are helping to arrange a job for her and she says one of the reasons she chose the club was down to how they treat their players.
She added: "There are paid players in the league. I am lucky that I will be gaining payments for playing and, although not enough to not have to work, it’s more than I’ve ever had before.
"The club are organising work for me though nothing is confirmed yet. The side are aware of my degree and experience working in a school so perhaps something similar to that. The treatment of the players is what encouraged the move to Panthers as opposed to any other club."
Booth insists that she will come back to the WSL where she will most likely want to re-sign for Leeds Rhinos. While at the club, Booth won the WSL title twice and last season her side won the domestic double after lifting the Challenge Cup as well as the WSL trophy.
Previous to this, Booth played at Bradford where she won the domestic treble and the club was her team growing up - another candidate for her to return to when she comes back to England.
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She said: "I’m not leaving because of the English league. I’ve loved my time in the WSL and I know Tom Brindle [head of growth at the Rugby Football League] and the team at the RFL have worked tirelessly over the last few years and made some amazing changes.
"That progress just needs to continue. I’d love to see more money put in the women’s game with more sponsors and double headers with the men. The game's moving in the right direction and it’s not going to be an overnight fix.
"I’m going to miss Women’s Super League and in my heart, I know I'll be back. I think [I would re-sign for Leeds] but Bradford was always my team growing up, so who knows."