Born in England and emigrating to Australia in 1970, Clayton (married name Gorton) was a skillful and versatile midfielder and attacker with great vision and a superb pass. A large part of Clayton’s career was played at Ascot, alongside many recognised Australian players touring in the 1974-1980 period for WA and Australia.
As one of the pioneers of the women’s game in Western Australia, the journey started as a teenager with East Fremantle Tricolore in 1973 and her first State Team representation in 1974 at the inaugural Championships in Sydney, after topping the goal scoring for Tricolore in the Western Australian Girls Soccer League.
On leaving Tricolore at the close of 1975, her career spanned 12 years with Ascot, numerous league titles and included a tour to Asia as Vice Captain of the State Team in 1977, winning a National Championship in 1978 with WA and being one of 7 West Australian’s in the World Women’s Invitational Tournament in Taiwan the same year- the first Australian Team to compete internationally, representing Australia against New Zealand in 1979 in Sydney and touring with WA to India in 1980.
Ascot had some great coaching, including John O’Connell and under the tutelage of the famous Syd Smith, attracted many of the best young players in the Perth area to the club, including Sharon Loveless (Mateljan), Donna Pendreigh (Gorton), Jude Pettitt (Jae), Janice Stott and Jill Syson (Gray).
Gorton wore the green and gold on seven occasions, five of those in ‘A’ competition.
She had playing breaks when kids intervened, but came back after 1988 (Ferndale) to play in 1995 for Gosnells, collecting a Fairest and Best for the league, a Masters Tournement on the Gold Coast and another year of local soccer at Lynwood in the year 2000. She received the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for services to the sport and was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame Western Australia 2012.
Gorton’s career spanned four decades and was inspired by a love of the game and mateship.
Club bio thanks to footballwa.net:
- Tricolore (1972-1975)
- Ascot (1976-1987)
- Ferndale (1988)
- Gosnells City (1995)
- Lynwood (2000)
Photo: 1977 tour to Asia, Football Hall of Fame Western Australia
References: Julie Gorton herself!, footballwa.net.