Elise Kellond-Knight’s road to recovery after her ACL injury has hit another milestone with the midfielder named in the squad for the June friendlies.
After doing the injury while playing for Kristianstads in Sweden, Kellond-Knight underwent surgery and rehab entirely overseas. Ahead of the new season, she made the switch from Kristianstads to fellow Damallsvenskan side Hammarby, signing until 2023.
In an interview with her new club, Kellond-Knight gave an update on her recovery and how she is tracking with Tokyo just around the corner.
“I feel good. I'm 10 months post operation now. So there's no definite timeline for the ACL. Most people take around 12 months. But for me, when I had the surgery in August, my initial goal was to be back for the Olympics. I was just adamant. I was like, I'm gonna do this, it's 11 months away, it's realistic.”
“But as I've gone on, everyone has hiccups, there's usually little obstacles you have to overcome. I had a bad calf injury, just before I moved here with Kristianstads. And that took me a good eight weeks to recover from and which was a pretty painful process, because I was watching the days tick over and I'm thinking I want to be back on the field as soon as I can.”
“But now I'm in a really good spot. Hammarby have sorted the calf out, we've integrated me into team training. And the last part will be to be in full contact, get some good sessions under my belt, and then I can hopefully put my hand up and say I'm ready.”
For the 30-year-old, Hammarby presents a homecoming of sorts after she spent the 2018 season with the club.
“It's great, Hammarby feel like my family. I've played in a lot of clubs through my career, and it's difficult. You feel like you're a commodity at times. You feel like you're brought into the club to do a job, you're a player, and that's all they want from me, they just want performances, whereas I think Hammarby give you a little bit more.”
“So for me to perform, I need to feel like I'm a part of something. I'm cared for, I'm supported. I'm not just a player, I'm not just a commodity, and I think Hammarby do a really great job of that. And I'm really happy to be back.”
Kellond-Knight is also happy to be back in camp with the Westfield Matildas. Like many of her Australian team mates, it's been well over a year since she has been with the squad thanks to a combination of the pandemic and her injury.
While rehabbing her ACL overseas has been difficult, this call up has been important for her on multiple levels.
“It warms my heart a little bit like I've been through such a hard 11 months, so for me, it just makes it all feel worthwhile.
"It would have been easy for me to just throw in the towel and say, I don't want to play football, I want to go home, I want to be comfortable. But I've stuck it out. I've stayed in an environment that will allow me to be back playing as a professional footballer. And I think this is a nice reward for that.”
Another important part of returning to the squad is being able to see her team mates again after such a long period of time apart.
“It'll be nice to see my Australians again, it's been over 15 months, I haven't seen anyone. It's a long time to be away from the team. So for me to just be able to integrate with the team again. And I'm a part of our leadership group too, as well. So I think having more experience around the team will hopefully be valuable for them.”