Checker determined to make her mark at United

Emma Checker is relishing the chance to shine at Canberra United.

Winning back her spot in the Westfield Matildas squad starts now for talented young defender Emma Checker who joins Canberra United for Season 8 of the Westfield W-League. Checker is one of five new faces confirmed in the squad for the defence of the championship won in Western Australia last December and will be out to add more defensive solidity to the squad in a bid to make her way back into the international frame. 

Aiming to force her way into a line-up that includes a number of top class defensive options will be the first goal for Checker in the lead up to the highly anticipated Round 1 clash with Brisbane Roar. And the amiable former Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory player is well aware that if she is successful in obtaining a starting spot then the job is only just beginning.

“I think it’s a very mental position playing in defence,” Checker said. “There’s a lot in the head and you have to really back yourself and be fully aware of everything that’s going on. I mean it’s easy to get away with some things with an athletic ability but when you are up against this level you can’t cover yourself. But like I said it’s being composed and being well aware of those around you.”

Those are attributes that have served Checker well in her football career to date, a career that encompassed those spells with the Lady Reds and the Victory. But joining the champions is a new start for the three times capped Matilda.

“I think for me all of them have been very professional set-ups,” Checker said reflecting on her time at her previous clubs. “I spent two seasons at Victory and two at Adelaide. They’re all in the same league, looking towards the same goal but I definitely feel a change being here at Canberra and it’s just the little things that have gotten Canberra to where they are and I just think they have nailed it. I’ve loved my time in Melbourne and Adelaide but I’m excited for something new.

“At Victory I played alongside some incredible players so it was definitely a step up and a challenge and one I think I rose to. The staff are incredible and I got to work with some really good coaches, but yeah I think it’s time for a new challenge again.”

Being a Westfield W-League player is a time consuming affair but there’s still down time and Checker will be looking for things to do in her time off at United. “When I was in Melbourne I was working full time in a cafe so I definitely have a coffee side to me,” she revealed. ‘Being in Canberra and not working I think I probably spend about 80 percent of my spare time in cafes. I’m still finding my feet and adventuring around so working out where to go.”

Checker’s quality is undoubted having represented Australia at under-17 and under-20 level making an international appearance ahead of her Westfield W-League debut before winning her trio of full international caps. So just what does she bring to the United ranks? The player herself is in the best position to answer.  
“I guess I hope I have a professional attitude and one that can mix and match with the ones here,” she said. “I think I am an athletic player and I think I play centre-back slightly different to some people but yeah hopefully that’s something the club can use and I’ll bring that to the girls. My biggest goal is to get my spot back in the Matildas and become a regular in that team but long term hopefully abroad and trying something out in America is a long term goal of mine. But I think I still have a bit to work on and that’s why I’m here to achieve that.”

If Checker can help inspire United to back-to-back crowns then those ambitions will surely become a reality. Canberra United begins the defence of their Westfield W-League crown on Sunday 18th October when they play Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium. 

Photo: Canberra Times