Article courtesy of Football NSW
Michelle Heyman describes signing with the Northern Tigers as one of the biggest changes in her life so far.
Making the move from Canberra to Sydney to play in NSW’s top tier Women’s competition was a gamble, but for Heyman, it’s certainly paid off and she’s kicking goals on and off the pitch.
“Being able to represent my country as a Matilda and then to come and play for the Tigers has really reignited my love of the game and my ability to have fun at the same time” Heyman said.
Currently, the Northern Tigers are sitting at eighth on the ladder, but with the addition of Heyman the club is expected to see a strong finish in the final half of the season.
Having worn the Green and Gold jersey an amazing 60 times for the Matildas amassing 20 goals at international level, Heyman’s signing has certainly bolstered the Tigers squad.
The star striker is undeniably a prized signing for the team as well as the league, but she believes she has just as much to gain by being there.
“Sometimes you can get too comfortable playing with the same people and you really need to step outside of your comfort zone to challenge yourself.
“Playing alongside the Tigers’ girls have really helped me to grow.
“Being part of such a positive, young team who just want to win is so rewarding” she said.
Thus far, Heyman has played two games for the Tigers and has hit the back of the net once, albeit against her former club Illawarra Stingrays.
Heyman’s move to Sydney also means she has been able to utilise the Future Matildas Program which was officially announced last week at Football NSW’s Valentine Sports Park.
The 29-year-old had her first training session with the up and coming young guns this week and is positive about the programs impact on the future of women’s football.
“It’s great playing alongside the young ones.
“You can see how their skills are developing and how important it is to have an elite program like this. “I’m excited to see what the future holds, by the time they get into the W-League, I’m predicting we’re going to have a very strong league here in Australia.”
Outside of her football life, Heyman assists ex-athletes in transitioning out of sport and into the workforce.
Heyman opened up about an anxious period of her life when she suffered an ankle injury in the W-League in late 2016 and was left wondering what she would do if she couldn’t play football.
“I’m that player who didn’t go to Uni, because I figured I was going to be a footballer forever. That was my dream and that was my focus.
“I started to get a bit older and began to panic, especially when I injured my ankle in the W-League and couldn’t play for a year. I had no idea what I was going to do and what skills I had, if I couldn’t play football.”
That is when she decided that “WithYouWithMe,” was the perfect fit.
Now, Heyman gets to work with athletes she can relate to, who have experienced similar moments of panic, not knowing where to go if playing professional full-time sport is no longer an option.
“It’s about showing athletes that the skills they developed while playing sport are transferable and can be used in the work force.
“Personally, it opened my eyes and gave me a clear picture of my strengths and how they can be used beyond sport.
“I’m very thankful and keen to help others like myself.”
-By Liana Buratti