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Sep 29, 2009   |  2:52PM AET

Matildas star returns to football with Canberra United

Matildas star returns to football with Canberra United

Former Matildas star Sally Shipard is hoping a return to football free of expectations will revive her football career following a surprise signing with Canberra United for the 2009 Westfield W-League season.

Former Matildas star Sally Shipard is hoping a return to football free of expectations will revive her football career following a surprise signing with Canberra United for the 2009 Westfield W-League season.

Canberra United-s last recruit before the season kicks off, this weekend against the Brisbane Roar, has come as a shock with few expecting the 21-year-old to make a return to the national league so soon.

“It-s very exciting,” Shipard says of her return to football.

“I haven-t seen the girls in a good eight months or so the past two weeks have been reminiscing and chatting about my adventure and getting back into the swing of things with football.”

With Under-20-s World Cup, two Asian Cups, an Olympic Games and FIFA Women-s World Cup appearances to her name, the 21 year old has rediscovered the joy of football.

“I want to come back and play without expectations and as long as I can keep myself in that mind set I don-t think that I-ll let anything else hinder it,” Shipard said.

“I-m just excited to be back and see the smiles on the girl-s faces.”

Shipard-s new look on football has come after an extended break overseas from the sport after achieving so much at such a young age.

“When I first went to England last year I didn-t want a bar of football which is probably the worst place to base myself in the world because they-re all football mad,” Shipard laughed.

“I managed to stay clear of it for a while but obviously travelling through Europe because of what I knew about football I was able to make friends automatically and have something in common with the whole of Europe.”

“As far as a break from football, I physically didn-t play but it was always there all around me.”

The midfielder was invited to train with Canberra United upon her return and hasn-t looked back since.

“I probably didn-t think of considering playing so soon but I want to be playing football.”

“I-ve been thinking of football for a long time but I didn-t want to take advantage of the situation and think that I could just waltz back into the team,” Shipard said.

“I want to prove to the girls that I-m whiling to work hard.”

Despite only being back at training for a week, Shipard is already pondering a return to the national team ahead of the 2011 Women-s World Cup in German should everything go to plan this summer.

“Your ultimate goal when playing sport is to represent your country so I guess that-s in the back of my mind for the next few months,” Shipard said.

“I think the next three months will be creating a foundation as to what I can build on.”

“I think when I was playing before I took my break I lost a bit of my natural side of my playing ability and I just want to recapture that and see where I can go from there and more of less just enjoy it from here.”

“I won-t have a choice but to enjoy it with this group of girls.”

Regardless of what the future has in store, Shipard is thrilled to be back and can-t wait for the coming Westfield W-League season to start.

“I think the most important thing you want to do [playing football] is have fun,” Shipard said.

“We-re all working and studying and football is a part time job so to commit as a professional to something like this and to peruse a career in football, you need to enjoy it and have fun.”

“Every time you-re out there and getting frustrated with the game and how you-re playing you-ve just got to remind yourself to enjoy it and everything kind of seems to be okay again.”

Canberra United kicks off its 2009 Westfield W-League campaign against the Brisbane Roar in a Grand Final rematch on Saturday, 3rd October at Ballymore Stadium to be broadcast live on ABC 1.