Rainey Niles is one of Tuggeranong’s additions to their National Premier League squad for the 2023 season and Niles has proven her skills and abilities during the opening game of the campaign by scoring the winning goal.
Niles was certain she didn’t want to cease playing high level soccer after graduating college. This is why Niles is now playing on the other side of the world for Tuggeranong United. Niles was born and raised in Florida, USA and decided to move to Canberra, Australia to continue her soccer career. When you have a love and passion for a sport you would do anything to continue your dreams to play.
“I started playing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for two years and after COVID I transferred to Delta State University and played my last three years there,” Niles said.
During Niles’ time at the University of Louisiana soccer team she made 53 appearances within two seasons, captained the team and appeared in 14 games as a midfielder across three seasons.
Niles played five years of college soccer before deciding to move to Australia to continue her love affair with the game. Niles had a big decision to make about what team she was going to play for next after playing for two University teams.
“I just finished my fifth year at college playing soccer, so I just wanted to keep playing. I didn’t want to be done yet,” she revealed.
“I reached out to an agency, we got in talks and they (Tuggeranong United) showed interest and we had some good chats. I took a couple of weeks and I decided that it felt like a good fit.”
Tuggeranong is a big family orientated club that takes pride in their culture which was one of the factors leading to Niles’ decision to play for the club and, having only been in Australia for two weeks, Niles already has aspirations for where she wants to travel and explore.
“Tuggeranong were really focused on the culture and they’re family orientated and that’s like a really big part outside of soccer for me,” she said
“I want to go to Sydney and maybe go to Melbourne. I don’t really know. I guess we’ll see. I want to explore a little bit outside of Canberra for sure.”
Adjusting to Australia and the lifestyle, Niles got a part-time job and is hoping to get out of her comfort-zone while in the country. Niles expressed that going for the experience while in Australia is a key factor during her trip instead of focusing on soccer.
“I actually just got a job, working part-time at Mookey’s. I sort of just want to get out of my comfort zone and explore Australia,” Niles said.
“I kind of want to go for the experience not just the soccer part”.
You can see Rainey Niles play her next game against Belconnen United FC in the Women’s Federation Cup on Wednesday 5th April at 18:30.
Words: Shania McCormack