It helps me play better, knowing I have confidence from other people, not just myself. So thatâs big, knowing Jill believes in me, the coaching staff believes in me. It has really helped me progress this year. I obviously have a lot to work on, but thatâs really helped me.
What was your first experience with the national team?
They were my favorite team growing up. And I remember, I think it was 2003 World Cup, they lost to Germany â I think they lost really bad to Germany â and I was really upset. I went in my bunk bed and cried. My mom came up to check on me and I was like, I just want to be left alone. From a young age, Iâve been really invested in this team, cheering for them, wanting them to be successful. And then there came a point when I was younger and realized that this is where I wanted to be. And itâs so inspiring to have that team as role models to look up to. And I think that is a big part of what kept me pressing to get better.
You missed more than a month this summer with a leg injury. In your breakthrough year, how difficult was that for you?
Itâs definitely disappointing. I felt like I was hitting my stride, feeling more and more comfortable with each game, both with the Breakers and the national team. But at the same time, Iâm going to have highs and lows in my career. And Iâve had both of that this year, two different experiences to learn from. And Iâve picked up a lot of things I wouldnât have if Iâd been playing. So this has been a learning period for me. Iâm not happy about it, of course, but I think Iâve gained a lot because the injury happened.
Youâve always had a cerebral approach to your game, but do you think because of that time off you are seeing different things now that you are near a return?
Definitely. Not even just on-the-field stuff. But an aspect that I didnât really pay attention to that Iâve really…