Kyah’s Sky Blues build momentum just in time

Star Sydney FC forward Kyah Simon and her teammates know a thing or two about winning games in the Westfield W-League finals series.

Indeed Sydney FC are yet to miss out the play-offs, with the Sky Blues the only club to feature in all eight finals series. It is a warning for Canberra United ahead of Sunday’s semi-final in the nation’s capital.

There are no less than eight survivors from the Sky Blues’ memorable 3-1 Grand Final victory in Melbourne three years ago. While Simon is also one of three remaining members of the team which claimed the club’s first title six long years ago. Suffice to say Sydney FC know what it takes to win a match at the pointy end of the season.

And Simon’s says her side are not only emboldened by their narrow weekend loss to runaway leaders Melbourne City, but that the visit south has stirred positive emotions about the team’s storied 2013 AAMI Park success.

“We have taken a lot of confidence away from our performance against Melbourne City,” said Simon of the last-gasp 2-1 defeat last Saturday. “It is the first time that we have really played to our potential.

“We walked away from that match with our heads held high, and take a lot of confidence going from that into our semi against Canberra.  We are feeling confident at the moment, and ready for the challenge ahead.

“It was funny because on the weekend it brought back a lot of memories of the last time we took out a Grand Final (in 2013). How joyful and happy we were, and proud of ourselves as a team.

“That was exciting in itself, and has added an extra bit of hunger to experience that again.  If we can do that again it would be a massive achievement for the team and the Sydney FC club.”

Canberra claimed maximum points over the Sky Blues in their two games this season winning 3-0 and 1-0, but Simon’s says her team are now a very different prospect.

“We got off to a slow start (to the season). We have always had the quality in the team. We are really starting to play some nice football over the past weeks.

“You could really feel the buzz within the team last weekend on the pitch, and in the locker room. We have come a long way since those games.”

Many have overlooked the fact that fan favourite Simon is only playing her first full Westfield W-League season since 2013. The Westfield Matilda striker suffered a serious knee injury playing against USA in 2013, only returning at the tail-end of last season.

“I have been pleased with my game in the past few weeks,” says Simon. “A major factor for me is my sharpness, and when I am sharp I feel my football comes with it.

“As the season has gone on, I have been happier with my performances, and my head space going into games.”

Aside from a focus on the Westfield W-League, the 24-year-old Sydneysider is certainly leading a busy life at the moment.

National team camps over the past few months have further filled the diary, while immediately upon her return from the Rio Olympic qualifiers in Japan, Simon will be running her first holiday camps on March 12-13 in Sydney for girls aged 10-18.

They will take place at the headquarters of Football NSW. It wil be a case of returning to where it all began for Simon, who first donned the Green and Gold at that venue as a raw but naturally gifted 15-year-old at the 2007 Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

Now a decade on, Simon is keen to help out the next generation of future stars just a few miles up the road from where she grew up.

“I’m super excited to get this up and running,” she says. And hopefully it can help inspire some young girls and also allow me the opportunity to pass on some of my knowledge.”

The camp will precede a possible return to Boston Breakers in the USA’s elite NWSL where Simon, as well as several Westfield Matildas’ teammates, have spent the past few seasons.

For now though the Westfield W-League is the focus, where opponents underestimate the two-time champions at their peril.

Westfield W-League semi-finals
Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Monday 25 January 2016
Kick-off: 4:30pm
(Hyundai A-League double-header – Melbourne City v Wellington Phoenix)
Tickets from Ticketek

Canberra United v Sydney FC
McKellar Park, Canberra
Sunday 24 January 2016
Kick-off: 2pm

Both matches live on Fox Sports/ABC TV