'Feeling like my old self, if not better': Simon sets new goals after triumphant return
Westfield Matildas striker Kyah Simon says her best football is ahead of her after making her return to action in the Green and Gold against Chinese Taipei on Friday night.
Simon played from the start in the Westfield Matildas' 7-0 win at Campbelltown Stadium; it was her first game under head coach Ante Milicic and her first appearance in a Westfield Matildas shirt since October 2018, when she last led the line for Australia against France.
Simon's subsequent run of injuries kept her out of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup and out of action for the national side until Friday night, when Milicic handed Simon a starting berth in the first game of the Westfield Matildas' Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualification campaign.
Simon says heading out onto the park with her national teammates in the colours she wears with such pride had her feeling the same way she did when she debuted for the Westfield Matildas as a teenager.
"I’m really happy just to be back out there," Simon said.
"I kind of had feelings of my debut all over again.
"Just obviously [I'm] a lot more experienced than when I was 16.
"Super happy to be back in the green and gold, I’m so passionate about it.
"Just being back out there with the girls brought back some really nice memories and a good result on top of it."
Despite returning to the Westfield Matildas fray after such a long injury layoff Simon looked as though she hadn't missed a beat, as she seamlessly linked up once more with her national teammates on the pitch.
Simon played the opening hour against Chinese Taipei, laying on an assist for Caitlin Foord's first goal and showcased an at-times telepathic connection with the Arsenal striker throughout the game.
With her successful return done and dusted Simon is eager to spend little time reflecting and more time looking ahead to the next opportunity she'll have to show Milicic, her teammates and the Westfield Matildas fans that her best football is yet to come.
"I'm feeling great, I’m really feeling like my old self if not better," Simon said.
"I’ve really been through some tough times but I’m looking forward to putting that behind me and focussing on my best football ahead of me.
"Being under Ante [Milicic] and Ivan [Jolic] has been really refreshing for me.
"It’s been a really nice learning experience for me, learning the new style of play and how we like to play and the principles that they’re really embedding into the team.
"It’s been enjoyable for me, another new experience and I’m really looking forward to what’s ahead and learning more and more about the team experience and cohesion I can gain with the girls all over again."
Simon will get her next chance to play in the Green and Gold when the Westfield Matildas' Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualification campaign continues on Monday, February 10 against Thailand.
Matchday 3 – Monday 10 February 2020
Campbelltown Stadium, Leumeah
- Chinese Taipei v China PR – 4.30pm AEDT
- Thailand v Australia – 7.30pm AEDT
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Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, and the My Football Live App – delayed on ABC TV
International viewers: Live streamed via My Football YouTube channel
Matchday 4 – Thursday 13 February 2020
Western Sydney Stadium, Parramatta
- Australia v China PR – 7.30pm AEDT
Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, and the My Football Live App – delayed on ABC TV.
International viewers - Live streamed via My Football YouTube channel