Taking on the boys ... Michelle Heyman. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
CANBERRA United's Michelle Heyman will forgo an overseas contract to further her game in Canberra this winter, with the striker set to test herself against the boys, having been inspired to reach new heights by her Brumbies housemates.
Heyman struggled with injury during the last W-League season - the club's all-time leading goal-scorer added just two to her tally - but she is determined to improve her game and will play in two ACT leagues this year to maximise her time on the field.
The 24-year-old declined a contract with the Danish club she played with last winter after her golden boot performance in the W-League, opting to stay settled in Canberra near friends and family and dedicate herself to football.
''I just know that I want to be fitter than ever,'' Heyman said.
''Instead of going overseas I thought [it] may be best if I can just stay here, play with boys and train with the men.''
Heyman also plans to play in the ACT Women's Premier League, but is leaving the negotiations on which men's league she plays in to Matildas assistant coach Spencer Prior, who would like her to play in the under-16s competition.
''I would like to play with the men, but I think Spencer would like me to play with the boys just so I get the ball and I can actually play a little bit more, but it's not 100 per cent all sorted yet,'' she said, indicating Belconnen United is the club she's likely to join.
She won't be the first woman to play in the under-16s, the ACT Academy of Sport have fielded a women's team in the competition. Heyman is likely to miss some games, with Matildas camps planned for winter, where she will have the chance to prove herself for new coach Hesterine de Reus.
Inspiring Heyman to get to her peak fitness have been her housemates, ACT Brumbies players Dan Palmer and Nic White.
''I love living here with the boys and it's a good environment just because they're so professional, I learn from them as well,'' she said.
''They have to be at training by 7 o'clock to eat breakfast, then they're not home until 5.30, but sometimes they come home in the middle of the day and I can just see how tired they are and I'm just like, 'OK, I want to be that person who can just put 100 per cent into my soccer','' she said.
''I just want to try and get as fit as I can, train as hard as I can and train professionally - even though we're not professional - but just try and do that for a year and see if my football gets any better, which hopefully it does.''