There's something uniquely Australian about Foord's grounding at that age. There were young girls all over the world who would have dreamed of that level of success, but not Foord.

Still, to this day, she doesn't watch the game she can boast to be one of the greatest at in the world.

The young Foord was a natural sporting prodigy - an enigma - from a family that wasn't particularly sporting and a town, the small Illawarra seaside of Shellharbour, that wasn't particularly into football.

"My family weren't really sporty at all," she recalls. "I guess mum was a little sporty growing up, but it’s always just been me. I was always active.

“I never watched football growing up. It was never in my family, it's only recently I’ve started watching games at all.

"I didn’t have a role model in football either, I just played it because I enjoyed it. Today, I won’t go out of my way to watch football. It’s never been a thing that I love, I don’t love watching it, but I do love playing it."

Talent, then success came naturally to Foord. Experience...that was a little harder to come by.

It's easy to forget until you hear the youthful exuberance in her voice that Foord's still only 24. In addition to her instant success on the world stage (now the veteran of three World Cups) she's won two W-League Premierships, two Championships, the Tournament of Nations and Asian Footballer of the Year.

She's now in her fouth NWSL campaign, although injury has derailed her season at league powerhouses Portland Thorns. A lisfranc ligament rupture she describes as "heartbreaking" forced her exclusion from the 2018 W-League Grand Final.

At 22, she was wondering whether she would ever play again. Two years later, before she's even hit her mid-20s, she has a renewed enjoyment for the game.

By last year, that juvenile confidence had faded and years of constant separation from her family, jet-setting from Perth to Sydney to New Jersey to Sendai, were beginning to take their toll.

She believes the injury came "at the perfect time". Fresh from an end-of-season sojourn to a Matildas camp Down Under, she's biting to get back on the park for Portland Thorns' season finale against Washington Spirit.

It's renewed her passion for success. She now admits that if she won another FIFA award, she'd attend the ceremony.

"I would," she muses bashfully. "I know now that it's the type of thing that doesn’t just come around and everyone doesn’t get to experience it. I wouldn’t miss it now if it did occur."

But no matter how much she recaptures her white line fever, she still doesn't reckon the beautiful game holds a candle to her first love, rugby league.


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