EXCITING times are ahead for former Mount Gambier soccer star and two-time Adelaide Crows AFLW premiership player Jenna McCormick, after she was named in the 20-player Matildas squad for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics qualifiers held in China.
After giving up Australian Rules in 2019, McCormick returned to her roots to pursue her first love.
Signing with Melbourne Victory Football Club in the W-League this season, after stints with Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United, the 25 year old looks forward to taking her soccer to the next level.
She has now played two games with the Matildas and is excited for another opportunity to prove herself in Australia’s national women’s soccer team.
“I am pretty stoked,” McCormick said.
“It is something I have been aiming towards and I am really happy to get the call up.”
The squad will be cut to 18 players before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics should the Matildas qualify, but McCormick said she is simply taking it one step at a time.
“They are only going to end up taking 18 to the Olympics, so I assume that will be cut from the 20 they have now,” McCormick said.
“I am just taking every opportunity as it comes.
“I have a lot of work to do before I can get a plane ticket.”
However, she said the chance to represent Australia at the highest level is an elating prospect.
“I am really excited for the opportunity,” she said.
“I try not to think too far ahead because you never know what might happen and there is a lot of work that needs to go in before that, but obviously the thought of potentially going is very exciting.
“I will just be focusing on the camp and really trying to do my best and show them I am worthy of a spot.
“Hopefully it comes from there.”
The Matildas will hold a training camp from January 20 to 28, before they leave for China on the final day.
Three games will be played, on February 3, 6 and 9, with those results to determine whether the team will qualify for the Olympics.
McCormick said she was pleased with her personal performances in her two previous outings with the Matildas and is excited for the chance to don the green and gold again.
“I am happy that I did well because it meant they got a little bit of confidence in me and were willing to give me another shot,” she said.
With her life-long goal to represent Australia, the whole experience has been surreal for the star, who started her soccer career as a Blue Lake Ranger junior in the Limestone Coast Football Association.
“It is something I have been working towards for a while and when I actually got there the week leading up to it and the day of was pretty crazy,” she said.
“It is a huge honour and every time I do get the opportunity it will not be taken for granted that’s for sure.”
Currently playing at Melbourne Victory as a defender in the W-League – Australia’s top women’s division – McCormick said she has enjoyed her time at the club so far.
“We are sitting fourth so we are not doing too badly and we are pretty much in the back third of the season already which is crazy,” she said.
“The club is really good to us and I could not really ask for much more.”
She is eager to taste more success with the Victory in the back end of the season, but for now she will have her sights set on the Matildas camp.