Thorns FC forward Caitlin Foord has been in form with Sydney FC nearly all season long in Australia's Westfield W-League. On loan there during the Thorns' offseason, Foord closed out a regular season campaign that saw her score 10 goals in 13 matches and has now helped her team to the eve of Friday's W-League Grand Final championship against Perth Glory (9:30pm PT).
While she and her teammates prepare, we reached out to hear a bit about her season, her mental and physical challenges in coming back from a foot injury that knocked her out of last year's W-League semifinal, what it was like going up against Thorns FC teammates in the playoffs and what she's looking forward to in returning to Portland this spring.
You’ve had a great season in Australia, coming in second in the Golden Boot race and helping lead your team to the Grand Final. What do you feel has really clicked for you this year?
"I think it has been a slow process for me regaining my confidence, transitioning back into an attacking position and coming back from my injury last year.
In last year’s W-League semifinal when my injury occurred I felt I was finally starting to feel good playing in a up front position after a very long time, along with the excitement of knowing I would be heading to Portland very soon. I felt I was in a very good and happy place with my football, then came my injury, which came with a lot of scary and negative thoughts being brought into my head knowing I was about to go through the same injury I had already been through in 2013, but only this time on my opposite foot, so on my return with my most recent injury it’s been a roller coaster of emotions.
It was the first time I had ever been challenged with these negative thoughts. So that was a new challenge for me and I didn't know how to overcome it. Not because of anyone else but myself and my own thoughts.
So coming into this W-League season I looked at it as a fresh start and I wanted to do all the things within my power and control to get myself into a good place physically and mentally.
I felt like was lacking in my ability in front of goal, so I started doing extra shooting and finishing sessions away from team training to help get reps and just get my confidence back in front of goal. I changed my nutrition to feel better on and off the field.
From there I honestly just stopped overthinking the game and started enjoying playing again. Each game I just feel like I have been building and building and playing confidently again, obviously putting a few goals in the net along the way has helped me a lot."
What was it like facing Thorns FC teammates Hayley Raso and Celeste Boureille – both of whom play for the Brisbane Roar – in the playoff semifinal?
"Facing Raso and Cel in the semi didn't really feel any different than playing them again after facing Brisbane twice already in the regular season. Obviously, it’s a little weird because we are teammates, but I think I'm just so used to doing it now that the thought doesn't even cross my mind."
What would it mean to you to win the final?
"It would be massive for me. After having to watch the team from the stands when the girls played in the W-League Grand Final last year was tough and then to go down yet again later that year in another final with the Thorns [losing to the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL Championship] was heartbreaking. I’m hoping 2019 will be better for me by winning championships with both Sydney FC and Portland."
What are you most looking forward in your return to Portland this spring?
"I’m very excited to get back to Portland! I loved my short time there last year and was very sad to leave. I’ve been looking forward to getting back since I left. I absolutely love the club, team, staff, fans and city. I’m looking forward to having a full season with the team and continuing to build off the back of this W-League season. I’m obviously in a much better place heading over to Portland this time around then I was last year so I just to be able to be the best in every way possible I can for the team."