An anterior cruciate ligament injury for French international Margot Robinne brought her to Australia and the same injury, at the World University Games, proved the catalyst for Holly Caspers - leading them to Canberra United this season.
Caspers is due to make her W-League debut in green, after her ACL injury in late 2019 at the Games in China changed everything. The 21-year-old went down in the second match, but the injury put her W-League goal in perspective.
"The doctors only spoke [Mandarin] so they had to write out anterior cruciate ligament rupture. It was pretty tough, especially having to fly back ... to Australia and then have surgery," she said.
"The W-League ... was a goal of mine, but then when I did my ACL I sort of said to myself if I can prove that I can get through this and stay motivated and committed to it for a year, then I'm going to really try for W-League and that's something I was able to do.
"It's something I've wanted to do for a while so I feel very overwhelmed."
MORE CANBERRA SPORT:
- 'You have to find $25,000 for a leg': How to overcome the cost barrier affecting parasports
- Knights destined for NPL top tier after 12 year hiatus
- Date pencilled in for Tigers FFA Cup battle
- One in 10 Australian sporting clubs fear bankruptcy, ACT no exception
- COVID causes construction delay for Home of Football
The winger has played in the NSW NPLW since 2012 and at Sydney Uni SFC since 2019. Joining fellow United signings Emma Ilijoski and Laura Hughes, alongside other W-League players, which she credits for the elite environment it created at SUSFC.
"[It] is definitely a great environment to push myself and have growth as a player, it probably is what made the W-League seem a little bit more achievable," she said.
"Before my ACL I like didn't really go to the gym ... that wasn't really in my mindset but I ... learned how important strength is. Just having that extra bit of strength from all the gym training ... has definitely helped and improved my game."
Similarly French international Margot Robinne, who played with Melbourne City last season, suffered an ACL injury and after, made the decision to come to Australia in 2017.
After debuting in France's top leagues at 15, she remembered how her older peers helped shape her game and she hopes to do the same for the younger players at United this season.
"I had a big injury, a bad one to my right knee, and I felt like I was kind of at the end of something. I was starting to coach, and I came here [to Australia] and I created my coaching business. So I actually played and enjoyed the game here, I discovered something different, and also discovered a new role for me," the 30-year-old said.
"The way I play ... is based on what I learned those years, so I'm also aware that I can bring my experience, I can share my experience and help the younger players."