Jenna McCormick could not have picked a better time to commit to football.
Not only did she make her Matildas debut on Saturday but played in front of a record crowd at Bankwest Stadium, as the Matildas defeated Chile.
The occasion was an emotional one for McCormick, who at times throughout her career felt uncertain as to whether she would ever realise the dream of representing her country.
“It’s still pretty fresh, the whole week leading up to the game there were so many emotions – happiness, excited, a lot of nerves and not knowing whether you were going to be playing and if you were for how long,” she told FNR.
“To find out I would be starting was nerve-wrecking I was trying to prepare myself all week in case it did happen and it did and the day came and I felt oddly calm throughout the day which was very good.
“Rocking up to the game it’s when it really hit me and quite a few of the nerves and then walking out with my mascot that really sort of made me realise I was here and I was about to do what I’ve working really hard for.
“Singing the anthem is quite emotional and does bring out a whole lot of emotions that I try to bottle up just to be able to focus on the game, so I had that five minute window there where I could soak it all in and really think about the importance and significance of the occasion that it was for me and then was bang on into the game.
“I didn’t really think about it until after the game where I was able to drop my guard a bit and go and celebrate with my family.”
The 25-year-old featured in both matches, as the Matildas were put to the test against a determined Chilean outfit in Sydney and Adelaide.
After two caps for the Matildas, McCormick’s hunger for more international minutes continues to grow with the upcoming Olympic Games and World Cup qualification in her sights.
“I really wanted to represent my country and participate in World Cups and Olympics so the decision to commit to football did come to with a little bit of ease and I was at peace with my decision,” she said.
“Although it was tough to leave my friends in the team at the [Adelaide] Crows, but the direction I’m heading is clear on my mind so that makes it easier for me to have to make decisions along the way because I have that vision of where I want to be.
“It’s paid off and I’ve to experience something where at times in my life I didn’t really expect to be able to ever experience it, but now that I’ve been able to represent my country it has confirmed with me that this is where I want to be.”
McCormick joins reigning premiers Melbourne Victory for the upcoming season, with the side set to meet last season’s champions Sydney FC in the opening round this Sunday.
The Victory will also participate in the inaugural women’s Asian Champions League, which McCormick says was a big factor in her joining the club.
“The Victory decision did have quite a number of factors to it but the main ones were I do know Jeff [Hopkins] from previous years so we’ve spoken about Victory, this year we spoke again and I was quite happy with the direction the club’s going and the resources it’s putting in to women’s program which is certainly somewhere I want to be,” she said.
“The Asian Champions League opportunity was a highlight for me because I do want to solidify a position in the national team so if I can get extra games against quality opportunity that’s even better, so playing the best of the best in Asia will be great for me and another reason why I wanted to join the Victory.”
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