EXCLUSIVE: Canberra United’s W-League player of the year and golden boot Michelle Heyman has sweet memories of scoring against Matilda Melissa Barbieri’s Melbourne Victory last season.
The two teams meet on Saturday in the ABC TV game with Heyman looking to add to her season tally of three goals in two games this season.
“I’m pretty excited because last season I scored two goals against them in my first year playing against Melissa Barbieri. It was amazing to score against her – it boosted my confidence a lot last year because I look up to all the girls who play in the Matildas,” Heyman, 22, told au.fourfourtwo.com.
An injured Barbieri won’t play on Saturday with Briana Davey likely to take over. But with two quality players in English striker Jodie Taylor and American midfielder Kendall Fletcher bolstering their squad, Victory will be a tough test for one of the W-League’s title favourites.
Heyman’s move to Canberra was one of the biggest signings in the off-season – though unexpected. Just months before the start of the 2010 season her W-League club Central Coast Mariners folded. For Heyman – who was told of the axing during a live radio interview – the implications went far beyond Gosford.
After blasting her way into W-League record books winning both player of the year and golden boot during a spectacular previous season, the powerful forward was now eying her ultimate ambition – making the national team for the 2011 FIFA World Cup. But suddenly, she was club-less and in limbo.
“It was a massive shock. I had no idea. I was doing a live interview when they told me. I was like, ‘Oh?’ I was in shock. I didn’t think it’d actually happen.”
Now, happily ensconced in the green of Canberra, Heyman’s in red-hot form and most importantly back on national coach Tommy Sermanni’s Matildas radar. And if she does make it, she’ll have one of her former team-mates from the Illawarra to thank.
“I’d always looked up to Michelle Carney,” Heyman says of Socceroo wingback David Carney’s sister. “She pushed me more than any other teammate that I could one day be a Matilda. Hearing those words inspired me.”
United, on four points in second spot play sixth placed Victory at McKellar Park, Canberra, Saturday at 3pm.