Catley admits that the league’s image could suffer with so many big names on the move, but she thinks many will still return to their home country.
“It definitely looks like there’s going to be a couple of girls going over there to try their luck in Europe,” she said.
“You have seen so many of us going over to America for so long, so it does look like there’s a change happening and that’s going to be the way forward.
“I am not sure what that means for players in the W-League, it depends on the individual player.”
In addition, says Catley, Australia is still an attractive proposition for many foreigners.
“Potentially it could [hurt the league] if all of the Matildas left, but I can’t see that happening. I think the W-League is in a really strong spot right now where there are so many internationals who are playing in America and overseas who want to come and play here.”
But Catley believes having more Matildas in Europe – where the big clubs are now investing and spending far more on women’s soccer development – could help the national team.
“From the national team’s perspective, players going over to Europe is better for us.
“And if the national team is doing well then that’s helping the W-League.”
While she hasn’t ruled out a move to Europe herself, for now she is happy to be in Melbourne where she leads a team that is clear at the top of the W-League standings.
The Melbourne City captain has played 77 times for her country and has been a regular in the W-League since 2009 and the American competition for the past six years.
“Right now I am fully focused on Melbourne City and I am very loyal to this club and want to win things here and have success here. In the future, I am not really sure.”
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing