Warriors star on transatlantic relationship!

It’s fair to say Willie Isa’s probably not looking forward to receiving his next utility bill.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 2:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th July 2021, 2:06 pm
Willie Isa and partner Gemma Bonner

With his girlfriend, England international Gemma Bonner, having recently joined Racing Louisville of the American National Women’s Soccer League, he’s been working round the clock to stay in touch.

“I’ve just been trying to use the club’s WiFi wherever I can,” the Warriors second row laughed.

“Rads (Kris Radlinski) hasn’t caught me yet, but he’s maybe not had a bill through yet...!”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Having played for Leeds, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City over here, 30-year-old Gemma couldn’t turn down the opportunity of a lifetime to move Stateside – even if it puts an inevitable strain on their relationship.

“It was much easier when she played for Manchester City, although I don’t really like that place too much...” said Auckland-born Isa, a huge supporter of City’s rivals Liverpool.

“But nowhere could be any further away than my family back home, who are 25 hours away, so all of a sudden Louisville, Kentucky doesn’t seem too far.

“We’ll make it work, but she is enjoying herself which is the main thing.

“They’re five hours behind us in Louisville, so it’s not too bad, you just have to adapt.

“It’s just the way our lives are for now, and she’s living life out there.

“Their last game was midnight our time, and I couldn’t watch because I had training in the morning.

“But it is what it is, and I try to catch up whenever I can.

“The only thing is the weather over there has been so hot, they’ve had to move games to make sure the temperature was a bit cooler.

“For a girl from Leeds, it’s not ideal, but she’s adapting which is all you can do!

“I’m just making sure she’s not coming back with an American accent. We don’t need that, do we...?”

The affable Isa is determined to maintain a glass half-full outlook, in the knowledge both his and Gemma’s careers are relatively short.

“It’s obviously been a big move, but I’ve always been an advocate of doing whatever you have to do,” the 32-year-old said.

“I’ve built a career in England after moving away from home at a young age, and you get to experience a different culture in the UK, and even a different culture in Wigan.

“You just have to embrace it really, and I didn’t have too much to say when she made the call.

“I wanted her to be the one to make the call, because it’s her who’s going to be living with that decision.

“I’ll support her the whole way, just as she supports me the whole way.

"She was looking for a change, she’s always wanted to go abroad, and this was probably the best opportunity to do that.”

Isa has also been working hard to establish a Louisville wing of the Warriors’ fanbase.

“I’ve spoken to a few of her team-mates on calls, and they have heard of rugby over there – albeit the other code,” he added.

“Gemma’s had to explain the differences between union and league, and they have watched a couple of our games, which they said they enjoyed.

“They were taken by how quick and constant it was, and they’ve already been asking me about how we do things at Wigan, to try and pick stuff up.

“Some of the stuff we do is the same but some is very different, and it’s always good to share ideas with other sports to try to help yourself.”

Get 20% off our sports subscription package and stay up to date with all the latest Wigan Athletic news with a year’s subscription to WiganToday for less than 9p a day. Use promo code TRANSFER20