Emma Checker knows a thing or two about setting standards.
She was appointed captain of Adelaide United at just 21 – after a stint with South Korean powerhouse Incheon Hyundai Red Angels – where she helped transform the Reds from no hopers to finals contenders.
After finishing season 2017/18 dead last, the Reds missed out on last season’s finals series by one point after what Checker says was a significant change in the club’s culture.
“I think the biggest learning experience was around the importance of club culture and team culture,” she said.
“I think whilst everyone talks about it and knows that it’s important, I think I learned just really how important it is and culture alone is what made the big change as a group.”
Checker swapped the Adelaide red for City blue over the transfer window and now occupies an important role at the heart of Rado Vidosic’s defence.
While the decision to leave her home club was a difficult one, Checker told FNR she was unsatisfied being “just a W-League player” and sought greater challenges and opportunities to break back into the Matildas line-up.
“I realised what I wanted to achieve from football and decided I was no longer satisfied with just being a W-League player and really wanted to have a red-hot crack at breaking back into the national team,” she said.
“I felt like I needed to be put back into a position to be really challenged and I loved being at Adelaide, I feel like we achieved some big things in terms of creating change at the club.
“I felt like I could re-learn a few things off others and be surrounded by those who had played at international level and it was a hard move to make.”
Checker will line-up against Adelaide United this week in City’s first home game of the season, after trips to Newcastle and Canberra.
“It is different coming up against [Adelaide] considering they are such close friends of mine and even growing up, so it will be a different feeling but at the end of the day you have friends in every team and once the game starts that gets pushed aside.”