Ellyse Perry. Photo: Wolter Peeters
Canberra United coach Jitka Klimkova stands by her ultimatum that forced Ellyse Perry to leave the club for Sydney FC last year, and says she still hopes the dual international chooses soccer over cricket.
Klimkova also said Perry, a Matildas squad member, would never reach her full potential in soccer without dedicating herself completely to the sport.
Canberra United was widely castigated before the 2012-13 W-League season when the club let poster-girl Perry go, Klimkova demanding Perry choose between sports after she skipped the finals with United to play cricket for Australia.
Klimkova's ultimatum may be vindicated as the two sports clash again this weekend, Perry having to choose between a semi-final with Sydney FC or playing with the NSW Breakers in the Women's T20 Cup grand final.
Klimkova said she was ''shocked'' when Perry decided to leave Canberra United for Sydney and is interested to see what sport Perry chooses this weekend. Perry is expected to make a decision by Wednesday.
''Of course, I would be happy if she would play [the W-League semi-final] because she is good, she's a good footballer and it's good for football to have her on the field,'' Klimkova said. ''I know Australians really like Ellyse and that she's really good with both sports … she still can stay being the role model for cricket and the role model for football, [but] the thing is she can't put 100 per cent to both of the sports.
''That's why I really don't feel like this is the best way for both sports.''
Klimkova said Perry needed to devote more time to football to reach the top of the game. ''Of course with cricket she's one of the best, from what I've heard, internationally, so in football it probably needs more practices, trainings to maybe be in the top,'' she said.
''I can see at the games she can have great moments, and then she makes … some mistakes which I'm sure can be fixed with more training.''
Perry missed half of Sydney FC's regular-season matches, some through a hamstring injury which also ruled her out of a Matildas tour to China.
Sydney lost just one of the six matches she played in - against Brisbane Roar two weeks ago - with the defender viewed as a vital part of their semi-final rematch.