Checker returns to Matildas squad after “toughest year of my life”

Posted February 20th, 2019 by admin and filed in 南京夜网
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Canberra United defender Emma Checker has overcome the “biggest challenge of her life” and made a triumphant return to the Australian squad following a knee reconstruction.
Nanjing Night Net

Checker was kept out of action for almost all of 2016 after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament on Christmas Eve the year before.

The 20-year-old spent 361 days sidelined and just two months after making her return for United, Checker is part of the Matildas’ squad in Portugal for the Algarve Cup.

“It was definitely the biggest challenge I have been faced with in life so far. I probably experienced more emotions within the year injured than I had throughout the rest of my life,” Checker said.

“There were so many ups and downs but it really did only make me stronger.”

First and foremost Checker wanted to crack back into Canberra’s W-League side, but said adding to her three Australian caps provided an extra incentive.

“It was a great feeling [returning] and one that I will never forget, just being able to be back out in green side by side with the group of girls and staff who had been there for me through it all was so rewarding,” she said.

“The added motivation of wanting to be back in the Matildas squad though was massive. There were certainly some challenging times within the rehab process where my mind ran wild and I lost sight of my way but thankfully with great people around me I got back on track.”

The defender said the lessons she learnt in her time away from the game were “never ending” and the injury changed her approach to football.

“Despite all of the negatives, the life lessons I have gained are ones I’ll carry with me forever. Simply not taking anything for granted and not becoming dependent on one certain aspect of your life,” Checker said.

“When every decision you make comes back to football you can lose sight of balance and the other important areas of life. But I gained a whole new appreciation for football and experienced a wild feeling of drive and desire that I hadn’t felt before that made me realise how badly I want to succeed.”

Checker described being back in Matildas camp as “unreal” and now that she has secured a national recall, her new goals are to stay healthy and cement her spot in the team.

“Going into 2017 my major goal was breaking back into the Matildas squad and it was definitely a pleasant surprise to come so early on in the year,” she said.

“Now it’s about maintaining my spot and it’s by no means an easy spot to keep with so much talent and competition, but it’s something I’m working hard towards.”

Canberra finished W-League minor premiers but were denied a grand final berth after a shattering semi-final loss in extra-time at home against Melbourne City.

“It was definitely a tough way to finish such a great season off, but as brutal as it was that’s a part of sport and we just have to learn from what went wrong and take the positives into next season,” Checker said.

The Matildas lost their first match in Portugal against Sweden 1-0, but bounced back on Saturday morning to down the Netherlands 3-2, and next face China on Tuesday.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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