Wexford Youths' McKenna Davidson: 'I think it's very unrealistic to ask a player to come here and have to support themselves with no job'

Sat, Nov 02 2019

McKenna Davidson in action for Wexford Youths Credit: Steve Alfred (ETPhotos)

Hailing from Hawaii, 7,101km away from Wexford – Wexford Youths midfielder McKenna Davidson may very well have one of the most intriguing FAI Cup Finals Day stories.

Moving to the Emerald Isle in 2016 as part of her studies in UL, Davidson has since played in the Champions League for Youths.

Not only that, the 25-year-old also has one Women’s National League title to her name along with a WFAI Cup – a crown that she will be hoping to retain on Sunday afternoon at the Aviva Stadium. 

“It’s an interesting story (laughs). I just found out recently that there’s another Hawaiian here playing rugby,” Davidson told extratime.ie.

“I used think I was the only one here but it’s nice to know that there’s other people from Hawaii playing abroad.

“It has been a good experience here with Wexford, but the only issue is the visa. If I could get a visa I would definitely stay longer. But, I’m not able to work, and I’m not getting anything from the club so

“I can’t support myself here anymore, but it has been a good journey coming from UL. I never thought I’d have an opportunity to come back into the country and getting the opportunity to come last season and play with Wexford and play in the champions league with them.

“There’s no regrets when I look back on my time here in Wexford, it has been just a growth journey for myself as a player and as an individual.

“I see women’s football going in the right direction here. The reason I can’t stay is because of my visa.

“It would be nice for players like myself to come from the States or come from other countries to be in Ireland, have work and be supported from their clubs instead of just coming here and just trying to make it on our your own.

“I think that’s very unrealistic to ask a player to come here and have to support themselves with no job. It really doesn’t make sense.

“When you compare it to the men’s side, you see all these clubs recruiting players from other countries, and they can stay so easily because they’re getting paid from the club.

“You can get a sports visa fairly easily as long as you’re making minimum wage from your club, but women’s sport here doesn’t even make minimum wage.

“There is a long way to go but there has definitely been steps taken in the right direction and hopefully it just goes up from here.”

Intertwined with both Wexford Youths and Wexford FC in more ways than another, Davidson will soon embark on a return to the USA – taking both memories and her boyfriend, League of Ireland First Division midfielder Thomas Croke with her.

“Reflecting on my life, it is a crazy, crazy story,” the Hawaiian opened up. “Thomas and I started dating when I was here last season.

“I kind of decided to come back this season to play with Wexford first and give my relationship with Thomas a chance.

“It has been a much different experience compared to last year. Last year was hard to find a rhythm.

“I was here on my own living in Carlow only training with the girls two times a week. I obviously had my own stuff, but it was hard.

“I’m living now in Wexford with Thomas and it was nice to get to his matches and coach the under-13s with Wexford. I was able to get out to their matches and travel to the games.

“It has been a completely different experience; he’s coming with me when I leave in 13 days’ time so I’m looking forward to a new adventure which will be a huge adventure for him.”

With an opportunity to round off her impromptu stay on the Emerald Isle in style this weekend, Davidson added; “The whole team is excited. It has obviously been a little bit of a disappointing season as far as wins go for us.

“I’d like to go out on a positive for the team but for myself. I think last season was a building year for myself personally but this year I have come into my own kind of form.

 “It has been a disappointing year, so we have everything to play for and absolutely nothing to lose this weekend.

“I think we’re going to go into the game with the mindset that Peamount are a great side, everybody knows that, and we have a lot of work to do.

“It would mean the world to us if win with a bit of a disappointing season for us – even as far as Champions League. We didn’t make it through because of one game so it would be great to end the season on a high.”