This time last year, Matilda Caitlin Foord injured her foot while playing for Sydney FC against the Newcastle Jets in the 2017-18 W-League semifinal.
She sat on the sidelines the following week watching her team lose the Grand Final to Melbourne City.
This weekend, Foord will be lining up to take on Perth Glory and this time, she is intending to play every minute.
Foord spoke to The Women’s Game about the ups and downs of the last 12 months, starting with her return to the W-League after playing abroad, and ending in what she hopes will be Sydney’s first Championship trophy in eight years.
In 2017, Foord became one of a handful of Australian footballers to play professionally in Japan. She signed for Vegalta Sendai Ladies on a one-year deal and played 17 games, scoring four goals.
When the Japan season ended, Foord returned to Sydney FC for the 2017-18 W-League season. She had a point to prove, both to herself and to her critics.
“I was in a not-so-good mind-frame coming back from Japan. I didn’t think I played my best football [there]; I was struggling to score goals,” she said.
“Coming into the W-League, I felt I was getting back to where I wanted to be and starting to feel good, but then my injury happened. It came at a very bad time because I was in the middle of a turning point.”
Foord’s lisfranc injury, a fracture or dislocation of the bones in the foot, happened in February. The following six months were a difficult and emotional period for the striker, having had the same injury in the opposite foot years earlier.
So stoked to finally have my plate and screws removed from my foot 🔧🔩 instantly feeling so much better 🐣 will have a few days to recover but looking forward to getting back into it & finishing off the final stages of my rehab! Not to much longer now til I’m back doing what I love 🙌🏽
“Having [had] that injury before on my other foot, it was really challenging to have those thoughts coming [back] into my mind: ‘Am I even going to be able to play again?’," she said.
“Now I have these two feet that feel like the one I already have, I was thinking ‘it’s pretty much going to be impossible for me'.”
However, Foord had an interesting way of coping with her own doubts and anxieties this time around.
“I would ask myself, ‘am I even going to be a good player anymore?’
“[But] I watched a lot of footage of myself playing just to remind myself ‘you can actually play football'.”