Kyah Simon: PSV, World Cup Memories and my toughest opponent

You recently signed for PSV Eindhoven. How are you enjoying your time in the Netherlands so far and how would you describe a team such as PSV Eindhoven?

I am really enjoying my time so far. PSV are a big club that are really professional and they are obviously a Dutch powerhouse in terms of club football. I am also really enjoying training and being part of the team that we have got and we have a group of young girls but also some senior more experienced players as well.

We have a really good balance and it has been nice to see the progression from week one and enjoying more with teammates as the weeks have gone by. I like living in Eindhoven and in Europe. The good weather recently has felt like home with the sun being out and temperatures in the mid thirties but I have been told to prepare for the cold winters to come.

You played two seasons for Houston Dash in the United States. How do you look back on your time at the club and do you have any highlights and special memories?

Yes, I had previously played in Boston in the NWSL before I went to Houston Dash. It was strange circumstances because Boston Breakers had folder at that time and our rights where kind of up in the air so I was in the process of sorting out where I wanted to play and Vera Pauw at the time was the coach at Houston Dash. She had a discussion with my agent and I and said “If we pick up Kyah’s rights would she be willing to come here?” and it was a matter of going somewhere where I felt comfortable and playing many minutes too.

It was a bit of an up and down period for me because I did have a few injury worries at Houston Dash so I did not get to play as much football as I would have liked and play football at my peak physically. It put a bit of a dampener on my time there because I did not feel I gave as much as I could and due to having had a poor couple of seasons health wise.

I enjoyed my time there in terms of the team that we had. We had a great team and a great group of girls and the club was also so supportive of me being an international player as well. Houston also lives for football and I was happy to call it my home in the United States and my home away from home too during my two seasons there and I have very fond memories.

You have been capped by your country of Australia. How do you look back on representing your country and what are your highlights and memories of playing international football?

I have been involved with the Australian national team for 12 years and still at 29. I made my debut at 16 years of age so I feel like I have been around for a long time. When I think where those 12 years have gone they have really flown by. It definitely does not feel like 12 years ago that I debuted for The Matilda’s and so much has happened in that time.

I will never forget my first senior debut as a 16 year old against United States in 2008. My first World Cup in Germany as an 18 year old and scoring a couple of goals as a striker in my first World Cup. Another World Cup in 2015 in Canada and the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro in 2016. Major tournaments really stick out for me and it is always an honour to play for my country and wear the Green & Gold shirt.

I missed on the World Cup in France last year and that really makes you appreciate when you are out there playing and feeling sharp and fit and enjoying my football. I enjoy when I am representing my country to the best of my ability. The 2010 Asian Cup was a huge highlight as it was the first silverware that any Australian team had won at the time.

I am also from Aboriginal heritage and being the first Aboriginal person to score at a World Cup in 2011 was a huge and very proud moment for me as well. Every time I walk out in that Green & Gold shirt and hear the national anthem it bring makes so many memories of even the first time I walked out so I feel that it is a continuous feeling of excitement and also a real privilege when I play for my country no matter the opponent or occasion.

You have accrued a lot of experience at club and international level, could you say who are among the best players you have played alongside so far in your career?

Yes, A few players come to mind Jess Fishlock would be one I played with her at Melbourne City and she was a great player and leader both on and off the pitch and it was an honour to play with her. Sam Kerr and I grew up at international level from around 15 years of age and It has been really good to see her development and the player she has become today playing particularly well these last few years.

I can imagine in your position as a striker that you have come up against many good opponents, could you say which opponents have stood out for you in terms of talent and ability in your career?

Yes, I would have to say when I made my debut at international level Abby Wambach has such a presence for the United States. She was just a dominant player. Her personality on the pitch shone through as well as her power and strength and that was incredible to witness as a 16 year old.

Marta of Brazil is still able to do amazing things on the pitch and I have played against her numerous times in my international career and she is an unbelievable player. I would also say Hope Solo is an amazing goalkeeper too.

Finally Kyah. could you say who are the coaches and managers who have meant a lot to you and played a key role in your development as a professional footballer?

Tom Sermanni The Matildas’s coach when I was capped at senior level and he obviously saw something in me as a 16 year old to gamble and put trust in me and give me an opportunity so I will forever be grateful to him.

Alen Stajcic coached me from a 15 year old at New South Wales Institute of Sport and he embedded a lot of my footballing habits from a young age and he was a tough coach who brought out the best in me as a player and I had success under him and he played a big role in my development in making me the player I am today.

Recent Matildas’s coach Ante Milicic and coming from the men’s game he brought a different experience and it was really enjoyable one, really professional and I think he helped to raise the bar for us in terms of what we expect from ourselves and as a team.

As a team we were still developing as a group under his guidance. There have been some prolific coaches during my career so far that have put trust in me not only as a player but as a person. These coaches are hard when the need to be and passionate about what they do and I think that really rubs off on the group when a coaches really believes in what he is doing and it gives the players the confidence to go out and get the job done.

FEATURE PHOTOGRAPH: “File:Kyah Simon playing against Japan WNT in 2012.jpg” by Thewomensgame is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

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