Brisbane Roar defender Claire Farrington will become the first Australian to play in the Big East since 2015, signing with Indianapolis-based Butler University. Farrington joins current Jacksonville assistant coach Anastasia Price as Aussies to play in the conference in recent years, with Price spending two seasons at Creighton after transferring from Alabama State.
Farrington made her W-League debut for Brisbane Roar in Round 2 of the 2019/20 season, starting in a defence that also featured Matildas star Clare Polkinghorne and Orlando Pride fullback Carson Pickett. The Northern NSW product finished with 5 appearances for the season, including two starts for a Roar side that eventually finished just out of the finals in fifth position.
Originally from Dunoon, just north of Lismore, Farrington has played the majority of her elite-level football in Queensland. Making her NPLW debut in 2016, Farrington then moved into the Roar program and played in the Under 14 Boys’ competition, eventually earning her way into the W-League squad for the most recent season. At the Roar, Farrington had the opportunity to play alongside Matildas stars Katrina Gorry, Elise Kellond-Knight, Mackenzie Arnold, Tameka Yallop, and defensive partner Polkinghorne.
Farrington also represented Northern NSW at the NTC Challenge in 2017, bringing home gold as part of a team stacked with W-League and college talent. Farrington played alongside Wyoming star Indianna Asimus and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi freshman Molly Arens, as well as W-League players Renee Pountney, Ash Brodigan, Tessa Tamplin, and Annalee Grove.
Butler have been a solid team in recent years, winning at least 10 games in each of the past five seasons. However, those solid seasons have resulted in just one NCAA Tournament berth, a first-round loss to Northwestern in 2017. However, playing in one of the better conferences opens up a range of both opportunities and challenges for Farrington, particularly in a team that is consistently on the cusp of reaching the NCAA Tournament. Playing in the Big East will also see Farrington face a fellow Australian every season, with Daniel Clitnovici currently serving as associate head coach for Philadelphia-based side Villanova.
Farrington’s signing brings the number of players with W-League experience currently in NCAA Division I to five, alongside La Salle senior Claudia Jenkins, Hawaii sophomore Eliza Ammendolia, UCLA sophomore Rachel Lowe and Stanford freshman Amy Sayer.