Checker prepared to make the tough decisions

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Emma Checker may be known as one of the toughest players in the W-League, but it was an off-field decision that proved one of the difficult moments of her career.

In September Checker opted to abandon the captaincy of her hometown team Adelaide United and join Melbourne City for the upcoming season.

“It was really tough. It definitely wasn’t a quick decision,” she said.

“I had a lot to think about, and a lot of pros and cons on both sides.”

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It was work and study opportunities, and a desire to win trophies that drew the defender to City.

Coming from a team that has never made the finals, Checker has joined one which has claimed three titles in the last four seasons.

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“There was a big part of me while making the decision that struggled in the sense that I hadn’t achieved that [making finals], and it was hard to look past it,” she said.

Checker credits a fire within her, fuelled by a few early setbacks in her career, as driving her decision to change clubs.

“It’s something I’ve always had in me, but it’s developed over time,” she said.

“After being dropped out of the national team set up, and after having some pretty serious injuries, I always knew that I could outwork someone or work harder than the person next to me.”

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Checker was first called up to represent Australia as a 15-year-old, playing at the U17 and U20 levels. She has also made three appearances for the senior side, making her debut in 2012.

In 2016 her career stalled when she tore her ACL, an injury which saw her spend twelve months on the sidelines.

This was followed by a move to South Korea, an experience marred by a three-month ankle injury, followed by a three-month re-injury of her knee.

“It just felt like one thing after another, and the most challenging part was being in a foreign country, a non-English speaking country, where everything felt a hundred times harder. You feel isolated and alone,” she said.

Checker believes it was these moments that moulded her into the person, the player and the leader she has become.

“At the time it was brutal, and it felt like I couldn’t get through it,” she said.

“Coming out of it now and reflecting on it, it’s definitely a big part of my growth.

“I developed a real hope to better everyone else around me and to be a big part of creating something.”

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She was made captain on her return to Adelaide, taking up the armband at only 21 years of age.

Now at City, Checker believes she’s found the perfect environment to take her career to the next level.

It’s a competitive club, they’re professional, they have high standards, winning is the only option and I love that,” she said.

“I feel competitive and I feel ready to go out there and achieve something and I think it will suit my fiery competitive personality.”

Ultimately a tough decision to move clubs may prove a fruitful one in the future.

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne City

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Michael Patane
Student at Monash University and lover of all things football covering Melbourne City in 2019/20.