SA NTC midfielder Abbey Burns signs with UAB

Alabama State has long been the domain of Aussies in the Yellowhammer State, but the 2022 season will see a second Division I team in Alabama feature an Aussie as former Adelaide United midfielder Abbey Burns signs with UAB (University of Alabama-Birmingham). Burns joins the Blazers at an intriguing time for the team, with the entire athletics program set to move from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference in 2023 as part of a six-team group to leave C-USA for the AAC.

A member of the Football SA NTC first team, Burns has made 56 appearances in NPL South Australia since making her debut in 2019 and become an integral part of the team’s midfield. Those performances earned Burns a spot on the Adelaide United squad for the 2020/21 W-League season amongst former college players Isabel Hodgson, Kahlia Hogg, Laura Johns, and Maruschka Waldus, as well as Oregon freshman midfielder Lara Kirkby. Burns has also received a call-up to a Young Matildas camp in 2021 alongside a number of A-League Women players including Emma Ilijoski, Darcey Malone, and recent Matildas debutants Jessika Nash and Jamilla Rankin, further cementing her credentials as one of the elite emerging midfielders in Australia.

A 4-win season in 2019 notwithstanding, UAB have been just either side of .500 in each of the other three seasons since 2018, and will be looking to make a return to the kind of level that saw the Blazers post a 13-win season in 2017. That kind of record has been an anomaly for UAB, but with a change in conference coming in 2023, the Blazers will be looking to aim high as they look to make a seamless transition into the AAC.

In a freshman class stacked with players who can slot into the midfield, Burns will be looking to establish herself early, particularly with plenty of midfield talent already on the roster. Australians don’t have a massive history in Conference USA, so there isn’t a lot of basis for comparison, making Burns’ first season in college a particularly intriguing one to keep an eye on.

About Lachy 341 Articles
Founder of College Matildas. An Australian women's football fan who also happens to be a college sports fan. Often found at A-League Women or NPLW games.

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