AFTER a year on the sidelines, Michelle Heyman is back and raring for a return to the pitch.

The 32-year-old striker signed for W-League side Canberra United after departing Adelaide United at the end of 2018-19 season.

The former Matilda is raring and ready to tackle the new season back at club she played for eight years.

“I’ve been counting down for a lot longer than even the pre-season,” Heyman told Breakfast on FNR.

“I’ve been pretty keen and I’m excited to take this journey again,

“I think this is the one club I have always felt like I have belonged at and just wanted to play for this club.”

Heyman said her year away from the game helped re-establish her love with the game and the COVID-19 pandemic helped once she started kicking a ball again.

“All during COVID, I got bored and started kicking a ball again,” Heyman said.

“For myself, it took one whole year without kicking which was wild because I had been playing since I was a kid,

“I loved the game but I think I was just mentally over football, I was very drained throughout the Matildas and I started to hate the game,

“It’s hard for me to say but it’s how I felt at the time so I think taking a year off and then with COVID, it made me step outside and do something for myself again.”

Chronic knee and ankle pain also marred the final five years of Heyman’s career before her retirement.

A year away from the game helped her overcome the niggling injuries and get her body right for the new season.

“Within the year it was about getting my body right,” Heyman said.

“For the past five years I had always been in pain with little niggles here and there… I felt like I was 70 years old, it was hard for me to walk up and down stairs,

“Taking time off it allowed my body to self-heal.”

During her year off, Heyman’s father, a big Canberra United supporter passed away which was a big motivator in her return to not only the pitch but to her former club.

“The past year has been difficult, my dad passed away and he was a big Canberra United supporter and he didn’t want me to retire,” Heyman said.

“This season is going to be something special; I’m doing it for myself but I’m doing it for my dad.”

Heyman has her eyes set on becoming the W-League’s top scorer yet again after Sam Kerr broke her 63-goal record.

“My main goal is to score as many goals as possible and get my record back and make it a bit higher so if Sam comes back she can’t catch me!” Heyman said.

Nick D’Urbano