The humble Captain, Emma Checker speaks all things Adelaide United ahead of the new W-League season.
After doing an excellent job as leader last season, you will continue your role as Captain for Adelaide United this year, how does it feel to captain the side?
One thing about myself is that being Captain doesn’t change who I am as a person or player, it is in me to be a leader regardless of being Captain or not.
It isn’t about being demanding or above everyone else, for me, it’s about bringing the team together and making sure we have a good culture and a winning mentality.
The best thing about our team is that we have a group of leaders, not just the one, and we all want to help each other. It is time to really bring in another level of winning mentality, and we will make those changes to make sure that happens this year, and it all helps with the group of players we have.
What are your thoughts on last season and what have you all learnt, and can improve on for the upcoming campaign?
It was a disappointing end to last season, you never want to finish bottom, and I found it tough to comprehend because I’m not a good loser, and I know the other players aren’t either.
I did find it tough to bounce back from some of the results, but when you reflect back on it, there were, in fact, a lot of positives. We had enough positives moving into this season, so we haven’t had to make any massive changes, it was just fine-tuning what we were already doing.
Some of our best games were against top four sides, and we managed to knock-off a few of those teams, and drew with Melbourne City, and that just showed the standard that we are capable of.
We did have some poor performances, but it was due to a lack of consistency, not a lack of ability. We had a good style of play and structure, we were composed, we just didn’t hit the target and score when it really counted, and we made poor errors that cost us goals.
This year it’s about limiting those errors and maintaining consistency, so if we can do that, there is no reason why we can’t be a top four side. That is our aim and anything less is unacceptable, we want to play finals this season.
Adelaide have parted ways with a few key players this year, but have gained a big name in Michelle Heyman, as well as re-signing some local players. As Captain, what are your thoughts on the squad, and how great the Club is for giving opportunities to local players?
We have had some big losses and losing the likes of Alex Chidiac, who is an amazing talent and player to have around, and in saying that, anyone that won’t be playing for us again is a massive loss. But that’s the reality of sport, things change and players come and go. But we have made some big gains and we pride ourselves on the group of players that we have this season.
You will be reunited with Heyman after playing together at Canberra United, thoughts on this and what impact can Michelle have on the team?
She has such huge experience and I think that is something that we’ve lacked for a big period of time. And with younger players, as much as they have the talent, it can be hard at times due to having little experience, so I think Heyman and the other older players can help in that aspect.
Heyman is definitely someone the rest of the team can look up to and aspire to be like. She is a massive asset, and just huge for us both on and off the field. I am also selfishly stoked as a friend to have her playing for us at Adelaide.
What are you expecting from this season and what do United hope to achieve? Excitement, nerves?
The biggest goal this year is to definitely play finals and whilst that is the end goal, we aren’t thinking too far ahead and we’re focussing on having a good preseason. The vibe and energy amongst the team is unreal and we’re a group that is willing to work hard and make something happen. So for us, it is just about getting through pre-season and then we’ll take it game by game, especially as the first game will be a good indicator of where we are at.
This month will mark the ten-year anniversary of the W-League, how special has it been to be apart of, and what does it mean to you?
It has been really special and I’m heading into my eighth season now, so it has been unreal to look back at the progression I’ve made, of course starting at Adelaide United, and now being back, as well as the league as a whole.
Sometimes you do have to remind yourself just how far you’ve come because it’s easy to focus on how it has been a slow progress, although it can be frustrating, but the reality is we are progressing and working towards big things. We do need to remind ourselves of that as we have come a long way. And the attraction from foreign players is huge, and you don’t attract those sorts of players unless you’re doing something right, so we are on the right track and it will only continue to get better.
Adelaide United begin their 2017/18 W-League campaign against Melbourne Victory in a doubleheader at AAMI Park.