The passion I developed for chasing leather took flight long ago, and imagining my life without football is difficult to fathom. Deep down I recognised this quest would eventually come to a halt, but perhaps not at 26 years of age.
So, following deep contemplation, I’m retiring from playing football.
Having already taken a brief hiatus from the game in 2008, the decision now to step away is different, as a gigantic part of me wants to continue playing.
How have I arrived at this decision? Primarily it is for physical reasons – my knees continue to swell following bouts of running, and unfortunately... football incorporates plenty of it!
In the wake of my German stint in 2012 with Bayer Leverkusen, I returned to Australia for a bi-lateral arthroscope, cleaning up and repairing the meniscal damage sustained over years of play.
I rehabbed and returned to chase, only to go in for another arthroscope on my right knee three months later.
It was around this time I began to question my chase. Nonetheless I wasn’t ready to step away. I had the desire to play and most importantly the energy to commit to an extended bout of rehab.
In early 2013 I ventured up to Queensland to focus on my return under the watchful eye of the wonderful Brisbane Roar staff, whose support and kindness I will never forget.
My intentions were to play in the 2013/14 W-League season, and once I relocated back to Canberra, I took up training - though on a modified program.
The designated date for my return went by, and was followed by the ongoing re-establishing of goals and re-jigging of my attitude towards them.
Though it was challenging, I was eternally grateful for the support of my teammates and staff of Canberra United.
Eventually, I played a full half, followed by a brief 20 minute stint weeks later. Not what I had envisioned, but I was happy to be out there. Why hell, I even scored a goal. Ah, the natural high that followed!
There exists a world away from the round ball, I know that.
I don’t intend to step away completely. Football will be a part of my next adventure, as it has
provided me with excellent insights into challenges faced by young women in sport.
Enter Chasing Leather (www.chasingleather.com). My dream for CL has been bubbling since I was about 16, and is founded on the belief that all girls and women should be able to engage with sport in a positive way.
I am very grateful to find myself in the position to continue pursuing what once existed as a thought, an idea. Knowing the opportunities, benefits, challenges and heartache that a sporting life can deliver, I feel compelled to use this experience to make a difference.
I recognise that my career would not have been possible if it weren’t for the opportunities that football in Wagga Wagga and the surrounding region of Riverina provided. The support of my family, friends and extended football family made my dream a reality.
Hopefully, in the years to come (with the help of CL) we may continue to develop and inspire future generations so that the wonder of dreaming continues, and most importantly, girls have the opportunity to realise their dreams.
Thank you from the depth of my soul to all who made it possible for me to realise my dream. I shall forever remain a dreamer thanks to you.
And for a more detailed account of my Chasing Leather adventure, head to chasingleather.com