Denise O’Sullivan Interview by Eoin Donovan
Denise O’Sullivan, who is ranked as one of the top 100 female footballers in the world by The Guardian, has had a footballing career spanning the globe.
From the streets of Knocknaheeney, to the lights of the National Women’s Soccer League in the United States, the 26-year-old forward has played for Cork City Women’s FC, Glasgow City, Western Sydney Wanderers on her way to her current club, North Caroline Courage.
Before her travels, her Most Valuable Player awards, and her league title successes in the USA and Scotland, Denise was making her name known at Wilton United in her home city of Cork.
Denise: “Looking back, it was fantastic playing for Wilton,” she told Pro-Scout 3.
Denise: “I developed as a player there under Pat Bowdren and Steve Lynch. Those two were always so good and supportive to me. I also can’t forget Don O’Sullivan and Gus O’Brien who were also key in my development. The club was always very supportive and has produced some quality players.”
Denise: “Moving to Cork and playing for them was great. I was playing under Dave Bell and I learnt a lot from him. I played with some great players there and loved every minute of it”.
After taking part in City’s inaugural season in the Women’s National League Denise’s talents were quickly noticed by giants Peamount United and she took part in their 2012 Champions League qualifying campaign.
Denise: “Everyone at Peamount was absolutely fantastic to me. They always made me feel comfortable and welcome. It was great getting the experience in playing in the Champions League there.”
Denise: “In 2013 I moved to Scotland to play for Glasgow City. Playing professional was always what I wanted. I was a home bird and very close to my family so that may have held me back a bit at the beginning. But they knew what I wanted and encouraged me to turn my dream into reality”.
Denise’s three years in Scotland earned her a move to the United States in 2016 to play for Houston Dash and later North Carolina Courage. There, in the south east of the United States, she won the NWSL Championship in 2018 and 2019 and the NWSL in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Denise: “When first went to the US, there was a big difference between in playing football. I think the speed of the game compared to Irish league is the biggest difference. It’s very fast pace game and you need to be at the top of your game to be able to compete in the league”.
Denise: “In the states I have made some fantastic memories. My favourite football memory is winning my first championship for NC Courage. It was one of the best days of my career.”
Denise: “Out of everyone I have played against in the States, I think Carli Lloyd, who has two World Cup medals and an Olympic Gold Medal with the United States, is the best player I’ve played against.