The story of Matildas forward Hayley Raso has been one heard many times over the last nine months.
By the end of her season with Thorns, she was competing for a starting XI spot but on the other side of that, she had reclaimed a spot in the national team. However, it was the following season that Raso truly shone.
She scored seven goals, which included her first NWSL goal, and went on to claim the league Championship but after the high of bringing home an NWSL title, she ran into a hurdle coming back to W-League.
Throughout the season, she dealt with left-knee problems and was heavily strapped most games but during the Asian Cup in April 2018, she suffered a partial tear in the Lateral Collateral Ligament on her right leg. The injury, while good it wasn't a complete tear which would've sidelined her for the majority of 2018, only put her out for the first 11 games of Portlands title defence season.
However, in a cruel twist of events, just 12 games after she made her comeback from that knee injury, Raso laid motionless on the field in a match against Spirit.
“I’d just come back from my knee,” she said.
“Finally got back. I don't even think I played that many games and then my back.”
While the diagnosis for a non-displaced fracture of the transverse processes of L2, L3 and L4, is six to eight weeks, it was the mental side of the injury which was the hardest to overcome the Gold Coast local said.
“It was really hard for me obviously not really being able to walk but then the mental side of it of thinking I actually don't think I'll be able to get back up so, to be here, sitting here playing again, it's exciting for me to look at the place I was in and then to be here now," she said.
Her resilience to come back from a serious injury came down to a couple of things. One being her never give up attitude but also her determination to be part of the World Cup squad.
“The whole time I was in hospital or rehabbing, I was thinking, ‘I want to be back with my national team, I want to go to this World Cup'. That's why I'm coming back."
While some people out there may doubt her, Raso has been awarded for her effort, ability and passion by being included in Milici's 23-player squad.
“I just want them to know that I've made it and I've reached my dream. To play it the World Cup. To play minutes. To overcome everything," she said.