Adelaide United defender Emma Checker has made massive progress this year, from an impressive club season to a call up to the Westfield Matildas training camp. Girls FC found out a little more about this rising star ...
You’ve gone from U17s to the Westfield Matildas call-up. That’s a big step-up!
It is a feeling hard to describe. It came as a shock getting the U17 call-up last year, let alone getting a Westfield Matildas call-up under a year later. It was a dream come true.
My aim was to get selected on a Westfield Matildas camp, but I certainly wasn’t expecting it to come so soon. There is no better feeling than knowing you’re getting the opportunity to train and play with the best female footballers Australia has to offer.
When I read through the list of players I was going on camp with it was frightening to think that players I idolise were going to be next to me, participating in the same training sessions as I was.
Was the camp what you expected?
I was lucky enough to speak to some of the girls before going to get an idea and understanding of what camp was like. I knew it was going to be very high intensity and standard, so I would have to be at the best of my ability at all times.
How did the camp differ from the U17s’ camps?
It was another step up. The U17s’ camps were all held at the AIS, whereas this camp was in Woolongong and we participated in coaching clinics for junior players, which was something new.
Best part about the camp?
I don’t think I could name the best part. I enjoyed every minute of it and can’t wait to experience it all over again this week.
You’re in Year 11 - what are you studying? Are you finding it tricky to juggle sporting commitments and study?
I am in year 11 and I’m studying English, Maths, Physical Education, Workplace Practices, and Photography.
At times, managing study and sporting commitments can be very challenging, but I have learnt to manage my time and use every minute I have in the classroom at school productively to reduce the amount of pressure on getting work done outside school.
My teachers are usually very understanding of my sporting commitments so with discussion can be lenient.
Tell us how you got into football.
I [started] playing around with the boys at school and deciding to play for the school team. When I first started I didn’t see myself making anything out of the sport - I was just in it for a bit of fun and games.
I was selected to trial for the state schools team to go away to nationals at the age of 11. Almost everyone there was a club player and born the year before me so I thought I had no hope at all in being selected. When the team was announced I was to great surprise selected in the final squad to travel away.
From then on I decided I really wanted to go further with the sport, so joined a club team and went on to making more representative teams.
You’re clocking up a fair bit of travel these days, both with the representative sides, but also with Adelaide United. Have you enjoyed it?
I never used to be a big fan of travelling, but with how things have panned out I now love travelling. Although I’m not a big fan of flying, so at times all the flying can be a bit of a pain!
I thoroughly enjoyed the recent Westfield W-League season. It was a great opportunity for me to develop as a player and a person. Being on a field with the best players of our country and some of the best from international teams, it was very nerve-racking and took a bit of getting used to.
My confidence grew as the season progressed and I became more comfortable with my position in the Adelaide United team.
You were outstanding for Adelaide this season and helped them to record their first win in 34 matches. The pic where you’re high-tenning Ashleigh Gunning still gives us goosebumps. How was it on the day?
I will never forget the feelings and emotions that that game brought out. The game was so tense and with the conditions the win could have easily gone either way.
We wanted the win more than anything and were willing to put in everything we had to make the win happen. When the final whistle went it was almost as if we didn’t know what to do! Having not won a game for 34 games the winning feeling clearly hadn’t been felt for a very long time.
It was a feeling that we really want and feel we can make become more regular in the up-coming season.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I have no idea. At the moment my main focus is successfully completing my schooling and from there I will make decisions about my future. As long as I continue to progress and develop as a player where I will end up will hopefully sort itself out.