Boston Breakers and Australia striker Kyah Simon continues to fly the flag for those who love the women’s game back home, while family sentiment has been fuelling the Matildas prospect all the more in her time away.
Boston Breakers’ leading scorer (12) in last season’s WPSL Elite League season, Kyah Simon is back again for the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League campaign. The 21-year-old headed back to Massachusetts in great heart, having captained Sydney FC to W-League Grand Final glory in January.
The Quakers Hill native netted a late penalty, also delivering an inch-perfect cross for Sam Kerr to head home, in a 3-1 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park. Hailed by her Breakers coach Lisa Cole as one of the world’s best strikers, music is one aspect always guaranteed to help set her into full flow.
“It really depends on the mood I’m in but my tastes range from r&b and hip-hop to electro/dance,” Kyah explains. “Chris Brown, Rihanna, Drake, J. Cole, Miguel and Justin Bieber, which I love listening to when I’m feeling a good bass and some meaningful lyrics.”
“Avicii, Stafford Brothers, Swedish House Mafia, Disclosure, when I’m after something more upbeat to get the blood rushing. Then reggae/acoustic, to appreciate an amazing voice, and lastly, Ed Sheeran just has the ability to calm any situation with his voice.”
Among numerous Australia players currently pursuing their career in the U.S., there are always moments of reflection when so far from home. The importance of loved ones is something Kyah speaks often about, which is an extra reason for her connection to a 1999 Aussie hit.
“The first CD I bought was S2S, a single called ‘Sister’. My sister (Sarah) and I are best friends and were attached at the hip when we were younger, so that was our song, with the artists being two sisters of a similar age as well.”
A key part of the Boston Breakers team that finished 1st in the 2012 WPSL Elite regular season (before being defeated in the semi-final by Chicago Red Stars), Kyah is one of numerous international standouts in their ranks this year. That list includes U.S. names Heather O’Reilly and Sydney Leroux, as well as English forward Lianne Sanderson.
Kyah paints the picture of the Breakers’ typical pre-match scene.
“Upbeat tunes, remixes, r&b and dance; nothing ever too slow, unless it’s a Rihanna favourite, given a group of us recently saw her in concert in Boston. Music is a big personal pre-game preparation, to let my mind run wild and get me pumped up.
“There hasn’t been a set playlist as yet, mainly just whoever has new music on their phone. There is a bit of a range throughout the team, from country to r&b and hip-hop.”
Scorer of the winning penalty in Australia’s shootout victory over North Korea in the 2010 Asian Cup final, Kyah also struck a crucial double in the 2-1 group win against Norway at the 2011 World Cup. In Bayer Leverkusen’s BayArena, with 18,474 looking on, her goals overturned a 1-0 deficit to seal a place in the quarter-final.
A guided effort into the far corner from Lisa De Vanna’s cut-back was the equaliser, before a header from Kim Carroll’s cross that had coach Tom Sermanni rejoicing on the sideline. The goals were the first to be scored in either the male or female World Cup by an Indigenous player, putting Kyah in the sporting history books, like her childhood hero, 2000 Olympic gold medallist (women’s 400m) Cathy Freeman.
Should a lucrative alternative career present itself one day, however, it probably won’t be music.
“Thankfully for whoever would be listening, I haven’t (ever had to sing in front of teammates) on my own. I did once, though, at karaoke, singing Whitney Houston; woke up the next morning with a sore throat, so I guess that answers how it went!”
Back with the Breakers, there have been signs of encouragement at the start of the season, with 4th their current position. This Saturday (25th May) sees them return to their home venue, as Dilboy Stadium, Somerville hosts their third meeting of the year with Washington Spirit.
Enjoying her part in the squad, Kyah has another demanding-but-worthwhile endeavour to take up her free time.
“The new team is great, we have really good team morale and everyone seems to get along. I definitely haven’t had an ideal start to the season, with injury after injury, but it’s a matter of staying positive and persisting to get back 100 per cent.
“Schedule-wise, I have been busy off the pitch as well, as I’ve undertaken a Diploma of Management.”
An international debutante at 16 (against Hong Kong in 2007), she has expressed her wish to help grow women’s football back home. Already a recognisable figure in her sport, how does she feel about her status as a role model, and where do her ambitions ultimately lie?
“It makes me honoured to know I am an inspiration for young kids, and I hope I can continue to fulfil that role as best as I can. I want to achieve exactly that, to inspire people to chase their dreams and exceed their expectations, to be an Indigenous role model for the youth back home as well.
“Away from football, I want to one day own my own business, and somehow repay my family for all the investments and time harvested into me and my career.”
She also has their next-door neighbour to thank for urging her to join her local club as a kid. In the here and now, she is leaving a continual impression.
All that remains is for her entry into the regular final segment of these interviews: four teammates, past or present, she would want alongside her in a 5-a-side line-up.
“Goalkeeper: Lydia Williams. She’s an absolute freak and we both come from the same background.
“The other three are three of my best friends in the Matildas: Alanna Kennedy, Caitlin Foord and Sam Kerr. I know without a doubt we would have fun, which is the main thing, and the rest would come with it.”