Sydney Olympic’s Young Matildas star Taylor Ray couldn’t hide her excitement when news filtered through that training sessions were back on the cards after COVID-19 halted all football operations in March.
“When the news came through that training sessions only were back on the cards it was definitely a massive step in the right direction and brought a smile to my face.
“It certainly allows us as players to plan and schedule for a hopeful commencement of the National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s season with Sydney Olympic.”
The 19-year-old has had her fair share of setbacks. COVID-19 was just the icing on the cake as the rising star suffered a second ACL injury in the space of two seasons but her never say die attitude and determination got her back up and playing with Ante Juric’s Sydney FC side later in the recent W-League season which saw her play finals football.
Asked what she did during the COVID-19 lockdown period the Olympic star replied.
“Since going into lockdown, a big focus of mine was completing my Masters in Personal Training course.
“It’s been a great opportunity to complete most of my assessments and in general broadening my knowledge and understanding of the topic.
“Moreso, regularly completing field sessions, gym work, recovery throughout the week, maintaining technical skills and fitness was also on the cards.
“In one way, it was a great opportunity for us athletes to work on the weaker aspects of our game, whether that’s on or off the field, it gave us that time to reflect and better ourselves which I enjoyed.”
The young gun had the assistance of fellow Sydney FC teammate Amy Sayer where the two trained collectively when restrictions eased in ensuring they were pushing themselves to the limit keeping themselves fit and ready to go. Adding this on top of her being part of the Future Matildas program and Taylor was on top of her fitness and staying sharp campaign in more ways than one.
“It’s been great as during the safer periods when the Government started to relax the restrictions I was training with Amy (Sayer).
“We really enjoyed each other’s company while working hard and smashing out some great sessions in the gym and on the pitch.
“I’m currently in the Future Matildas program as well so my daily sessions are provided to us weekly which consisted of a variety of sessions that included, conditioning (running, bike), gym, field sessions, and yoga/recovery sessions. The majority of days are double sessions in order to mimic a normal week of training we would conduct as a team, so these helped me out heaps.
“I’ll be resuming my training now with Sydney Olympic in the coming week which is very exciting as I will get to see all the girls and coaching staff once more.”
Football continues to play an important role in Taylor’s life and it was no secret that when the game came to a temporary halt, the future Matildas ace missed it like never before.
“You can say that again, I know I speak for so many footballers who were in the same boat, but I missed the game so much.
“There’re so many things about football that makes it such an amazing sport, hence why so many people love it and why so many people missed it when everything came to a stop.
“For me personally, the feeling of playing alongside such quality players that are some of your best mates is something I love doing and missed during the layoff.
“When you think about it, you represent more than just yourself but your club, your culture and your passion – it’s these perfect drivers that we use on the pitch as we come together as one making it such a powerful and emotional feeling and one I cannot wait to experience soon.”
Currently in her fourteenth seasons playing the game she loves, followers of the NPL NSW Women’s competition cannot wait to see Taylor Ray don the famous Blue and White jersey of Sydney Olympic when the girls hopefully get a green light to recommence their season once more.