Determination, dedication, and passion for the game, those are the traits Sydney Olympic’s NPL NSW Women’s shotstopper Jada Mathyssen-Whyman has lived by preparing for more football in 2020 following her recovery from injury that sidelined the star from W-League action with the Western Sydney Wanderers.
The talented 20-year-old keeper had been looking forward to the recent W-League season but playing for two and a half years with a tear in her patella tendon meant she required surgery – fast forward months of rehabilitation and Whyman is bursting at the seams ready to make her long awaited entrance onto the football pitch once more.
“I’ve missed everything about the game. The family culture you have when being part of a team, having your family and friends come out and watch your team, the excitement of game day, trying to nutmeg people – all this and so much more but I honestly cannot wait to make my comeback with Sydney Olympic.
“When restrictions eased, being able to go out and see people again brought back a feeling I probably took for granted pre-COVID-19.
“The first session back for us at Olympic was awesome, I think the girls were over the moon to see one another again. It was good to see everyone with a big smile on their faces and there was so much laughter. The banter was top level, we were all glad to be back but are all working hard hoping to get some competitive football under our belts very soon.”
The recent COVID-19 lockdown gave Whyman more opportunity to recover and push through rehab ensuring she was coach George Beltsos’ number one pick prior to the NPL NSW Women’s season commencing.
The break also allowed the promising Matilda to take up a couple of new hobbies keeping her busy and occupied.
“For me, COVID-19 had actually given me the time to focus on my rehab.
“When you’re injured, you have this feeling of missing out, but with sport being put on hold, it took away that pressure of needing to get back quickly.
“Given that I was at home more often, I took advantage of it and really knuckled down with my studies as well.
“Also not having that social aspect of being around your teammates, there were plenty of opportunities for video calls to keep in touch with some of the girls.
“On the other hand, since I couldn’t kick a ball around due to limits with rehab, I took on some new hobbies like shooting hoops down at my local basketball court, cooking which I loved as well as learning how to play the guitar which was a massive fail.
“Work wise, I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home. It was a bit of a learning curve as we had to change up the way we approached connecting with our clients at headspace and changing a lot of things to online, but it was a good experience nonetheless.”
Known as a bit of a social media queen with over 4000 followers, the former Football NSW Institute graduate and Wagga Wagga born star recently took part in a special football project led by the FFA’s Digital Content Manager Ann Odong that saw the keeper pose for photos albeit inspired by Basketball Icon’s greatest ever, Michael Jordan and the successful Netflix series ‘The Last Dance’.
“That’s right, Ann Odong had messaged me saying she was doing a piece on athletes in isolation through her Instagram page “Futbol X Stories” and was wondering if I’d like to do a shoot with her.
“I told her I wasn’t doing too much other than rehab and having the occasional trip to the basketball court to shoot some hoops.
“Ann was pretty keen for it and it turned out to be a pretty fun shoot to be honest.
“To tell you the truth, I did go buy a basketball after watching the first episode of the last dance on Netflix.
“You kind of forget to enjoy other sports sometimes when you get caught up in training and playing all the time, so after watching the last dance I was like yeah I can shoot hoops (laughs).
“I ended up being pretty crap at it but it’s still pretty good fun.
“I really enjoyed the series, I got a lot out of it in terms of the mental side of things and challenges you can come up against in sport and life and I highly recommend giving it a watch if you haven’t yet.”