"You really got to do what you love" Kyah Simon opens up on an exclusive Zoom chat
For the past 12 years Westfield Matildas forward Kyah Simon has represented Australia on the world's biggest stages. On a very special Zoom session, 24 lucky competition winners had the chance to ask questions and gain insights from the World Cup player and Olympian.
Kyah Simon's international career began at just 16 years old as she debuted for the Westfield Matildas’ in August 2007 against Hong Kong.
However, as she told the exclusive Zoom chat, the path to the national team was through the Hills Brumbies, mastering her skills and working towards national team honours.
When asked by 13 year old Victorian Chloe what advice she would give her 13 year old self, looking back on her teenage years, Simon said she would have given her younger self advice on hard work.
“I think for me, it would just be to work on areas that I didn't feel as very strong at that time," Simon said.
"To work more on my left foot, to work more on shielding the ball and being stronger with your body and utilising that.”
I would say to myself, it's not going to be an easy road and to keep on pushing to the goal that you want to achieve and the direction that you want to go in."
Older Simon would also give her younger herself mental advice to persist in following her dreams to one day play for the Westfield Matildas’.
“It was a goal of mine from an eight-year-old girl. When I was a couple of sessions in, I went home to my Mum and Dad, and I said, ‘I want to play for Australia one day,’” she said.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can't do it, because ultimately, you have that decision within yourself.”
92 caps and 26 goals later, including appearances at FIFA Women’s World Cups, AFC Women’s Asian Cups and the Rio 2016 Olympics, the striker has proven that advice is pretty handy.
“[It] might not be an easy road, they'll definitely be setbacks, but it'll all be worth it when you wear the green and gold jersey, in the in the short future.”
Setbacks are something the 28 year old has been familiar with pushing through. From early on in her career, sustaining one of her first injuries (a leg break) at the age of fifteen to knee, should and ankle surgeries in later years.
“Having such a difficult setback to deal with at such a young age, I think was really difficult,” she said.
“I think the one thing that really stuck out to me was having that perseverance, resilience and that determination to want to get back to playing the sport that I love.”
“Everyone's going to come over setbacks and face effects I think in their life in general. If you keep persisting, if you love it that much, you really got to do what you love, and keep pushing on.”
Despite the challenges, Simon told Charli that, being consistent and goal setting were also key to making it to the national team, even when you have doubts or fall short.
"I was always big on goal setting. So I would always write, whether it's short term and long term goals."
"There'd be times when I would fail and times I would achieve those goals. But I think what stayed consistent was that I wanted to get better than that."
To get better, you have to achieve small little goals."
For Tammy, the mother of a teen footballer, Simon provided some encouragement to 15 and 16 year olds to stay in the game.
"There's always a social component to football, obviously playing with your mates," she said.
"I think for your daughter, it's a matter of deciding "do I want to go to a professional level and play elite football or am I just happy to play socially with my friends?"
"There's no right or wrong answer. Football is so great from that aspect. You can play at a professional level and an elite level, or you can play just socially on the weekends, with no aspirations to play for the Australian team."
"You can still be doing what you love and playing football, so I think it's really up to the individual."
There was plenty more advice from Kyah Simon and the full Zoom Session is available above.