Rebekah Stott will continue her inspirational return to professional football, signing with former club Melbourne City for the upcoming W-League season.
The 28-year-old defender announced four weeks ago that she was in remission after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer.
At the time of diagnosis, Stott had recently signed with Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Women’s Super League but returned to Melbourne in order to undergo chemotherapy.
Since being in remission, the 71-time Football Fern returned to the pitch for NPLW Victoria side Bulleen Lions last month – playing a short cameo off the bench and a stint as a goalkeeper.
Stott told reporters on Thursday that she is still slowly getting back to full fitness but plans to be ready to tackle the W-League season head on when it kicks off in November.
“I physically feel good, I’m slowly getting back into things so it’s going to take a little bit of time… in terms of my fitness levels, they’re improving each day,” Stott said.
“Emotionally, it was a hard time in my life and it still is, I’m still mentally recovering as well but I’m getting there and I’ve got a lot of support around me to help me out with that,
“I’m so excited, it’s hard at the moment because we are in lockdown so it’s not like in a team training situation but I’m so looking forward to getting back out on the field and being able to play for City,
“I have no doubt that I’ll be ready to go, it’s just a matter of making sure that I’m in the best possible physical area to be able to get my head down and get stuck in,
“I’m running three times a week now and gymming twice so I have no doubt I’ll be ready to go.”
Stott had previously spent time at City in three different stints, playing a major role in their four W-League Championships and is tied with Matilda Steph Catley for the most appearances for the club with 62.
A coffee and a chat with coach Rado Vidosic was enough for Stott to convince the manager she was ready to go for the upcoming season.
“I reached out to Rado and said ‘do you want to have a coffee?’ and he’s such a chilled guy so we just met up and I was like ‘alright, I’m good to go now so do you want me?”, Stott said.
“We had a few conversations after that, talked medically and all that kind of stuff and yeah here we are!”
Stott’s decorated career at the international level has seen her feature at two Women’s World Cups and two Olympics but due to her cancer diagnosis she missed the New Zealand Tokyo Olympics side.
However, with the 2023 Women’s World Cup on the horizon and in Stott’s home-country, the defender has used it as a motivator to help her in her recovery from cancer and has made it clear that she hopes to be part of the squad in two years time.
“I think having the 2023 Women’s World Cup on home soil, I think that’s the biggest motivator for me,” Stott said.
“I never ever had a doubt that I wouldn’t be making it to then so I’m just so happy that I can start to get back on track and really look to get back better than before.”