Golden boots, golden dreams


Michelle Heyman is on her way to greater things than the W-League ‘Golden Boot’.

Here-s a trivia question for you. Which Australian footballer has been awarded both “Footballer of the Year” and the “Golden Boot”, is the all-time top scorer in the current domestic league including three hat-tricks, yet has only won 3 caps for the national team?

The general public might struggle to recognise her face at the moment, but fans of women-s football would be able to tell you that Michelle Heyman-s star is on the rise, and she is well on the way to becoming a household name.

Saturday-s match not only delivered Canberra United a record first undefeated season, it also saw their star striker all but secure the league-s Golden Boot for the second time.

The 23-year-old from Shellharbour has had a stellar season in green, and a brace at the weekend helped her pretty much deliver on the pre-season promise she made Capital Football CEO Heather Reid to be the league-s top scorer.

To be strictly accurate, Melbourne-s Jodie Taylor could still mathematically clinch it, but it would need a five-goal performance from the Victory striker in her final match

Heyman-s W-league stats over her four seasons include a double on debut for the now defunct Central Coast Mariners in a season where she produced 11 goals in 11 games. Since moving to Canberra she has piled on a further 19 goals in 21 games. So including her three starts for Sydney FC in her first W-League season, that is a whopping 30 goals in 35 starts.

If a male footballer had those stats he would be all over the national papers, in
fact Mark Viduka-s 40 goals from 48 matches for the Melbourne Knights launched one of Australia-s most famous careers.

Ironic then, that when Heyman started kicking a ball around in Wollongong “because her uncle was a coach”, she-d never even heard of the Matildas and didn-t know girls played ‘soccer-.

Seven years of playing in boys competitions was followed by a stint with the Illawarra Stingrays. That put her on the radar of Sydney FC coach Alen Stajcic who signed her. She moved on after season 1, but that, she says is “where is all began”.

Despite having one golden boot trophy already on her mantelpiece from 2009 – a year which also saw her named the Player of the Year, Heyman has bigger dreams.

In fact her biography on the AIS website lists her sporting goal as “a starting spot in the Matildas” something that must surely be on the horizon, after she found the back of the net twice against Thailand when an injury to Sam Kerr earned her a first ever appearance in the starting side.

Being born in an era where the Matildas have had a plethora of striking talent is just Heyman-s bad luck – a bit like Stuart MacGill existing at the same time as Shane Warne.

With names like Gill, De Vanna, Kerr, Simon, Khamis and Walsh already there, it-s not an easy side to break into, however that may be about to change.

Matildas boss Tom Sermanni has watched Heyman closely and praised her development, saying, “she has grown in confidence and skill in the last two years and that progression, along with her pace, flexibility and size, mean she is definitely part of future plans”.

Unfortunately for the Canberra star, that Matildas dream may have to go on the backburner, with no program scheduled for Australia-s female internationals in the near future, after missing out on the London Olympics.

Heyman is unfazed by this. With interest already in from Germany and England, an off-season move is definitely on the cards.

But first of course, is the task at hand and while a championship would be some accolade to add to her already impressive CV, Heyman has other reasons for wanting to win the big one. Reasons that reflect the pain Canberra has suffered at being ‘oh so close- a number of times.

With a smile in her voice she says “It would mean everything to not let Sydney or Brisbane get it this time”