Manly United attacker Claudia Cholakian couldn’t hide her excitement after hitting up the pitches at Cromer Park on Tuesday evening as the National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s side put out its first training session hit-out post COVID-19 restrictions.
“Training was amazing, it was so good to be back.
“I felt so fresh and fit surprisingly but I think it was just adrenaline from the excitement of being back playing with all the girls.
“It was a little different than usual as you’d expect with the club and players following the strict social distancing guidelines but we were all so happy to be at a place we missed very much.
“When I drove to training that night it felt like I never left such was my feeling for the game I love.”
Asked what she missed most during that layoff Cholakian replied.
“I’ve missed match days for sure!
“Sometimes when I’m sitting at home on a Sunday, I’d be thinking I’d be kicking off my game right about now and that would make me sad.
“It was even tougher for us to take at Manly when the league stopped because we had such an amazing start to the season and so did I on a personal level, but this is what’s made me more excited to get back into it knowing the girls are confident in continuing on with our good form.”
The 23-year-old was fortunate enough that during the full football lockdown, she kept herself occupied with work as well as training thanks to a well-coordinated Manly United fitness program that was put together for Claudia and her teammates on top of picking up some interesting hobbies.
“Not much changed for me during the proper COVID-19 break because I was still working full time.
“I have two jobs; one is in fashion retail which remained open during lockdown and the other is in sustainability in property development which I’ve been doing at home.
“The only big changes in my life were not being able to play football and not being able to hang out with my friends during that period.
“I guess because I was still so busy it really didn’t feel like there was a global pandemic going on.
“On the training front, Manly United provided us with a fitness program which involved 3-4 days of fitness work to do at the park so I was really grateful for that.
“Manly also gave us a GPS to wear so knowing they were tracking our work meant it stopped us from slacking off.
“On the new hobbies front, I didn’t have that much time to relax but when I did, I coloured in and painted a lot, I was doing all kinds of artistic stuff (laughs).
Claudia is of course the sister of Manly United’s NPL NSW Men’s talented star attacker Brendan – someone she looks up to in her footballing career and confidence in getting better and hitting her achievements and goals.
“I don’t want to sound biased but he’s actually so good and I really do believe he should’ve been playing in the A-League years ago.
“I always try to incorporate what Brendan does on the pitch in my games so that I can improve and hopefully make the W-League one day.”