May 18, 2020 at 4:39 am #102
The physical and psychological hurdles Kayla McCoy had to clear to be ready for competition after a knee injury sustained ahead of the Fifa Women’s World Cup in France, last year were difficult.
But McCoy doggedly worked her way back into the fold from an eight-month-long layoff and even paraded her skills with Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz in Concacaf Women’s Olympic qualifiers in Texas earlier this year.
However, just as she was about to reunite with her Houston Dash family for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season to complete her comeback, football was brought to a halt by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The anxieties provoked by the infectious virus, which has been wreaking havoc across the globe, have inveigled their way into McCoy’s life, leaving her with a mixed bag of feelings, as she eagerly waits to take the pitch as soon as football resumes.
“Leading up to and following the Olympic Qualifiers, I have been training and preparing as best I can individually and trying to maintain my fitness for my upcoming club season with the Houston Dash. But at the moment, unfortunately, all I can do is wait and see,” McCoy, who scored twice in a 7-0 win over St Kitts and Nevis during the qualifiers, told the Jamaica Observer.
“The most challenging thing about having just returned from injury is the disappointment of now not being able to play. I was out for about eight months with my injury and during my rehab I was constantly looking forward to when I would be able to play again.
“So with the season being pushed back, it is obviously disappointing to not yet be back out on the field with my club. However, I was so excited to be able to play those three games with Jamaica during qualifiers and score a couple goals, it was really cool to be able to get back out there and represent Jamaica as my first games back from injury,” she added.
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McCoy, 23, knows all too well that the strength of any footballer lies in the team, and like it was on her journey back from the torn anterior cruciate ligament, her route out of the COVID-induced stress is found through the collective support of her roommates.
The United States-born forward, who is the granddaughter of Speaker of the House of Representatives Pearnel Charles Sr, believes keeping their motivation up and their skills sharp is important to overcome the current health crisis.
“Obviously, the outbreak of COVID-19 has affected everyone in very different ways, some people much more than others. I am very grateful to still have a job and still have a place to live amidst all of this uncertainty and all of us players are hopeful that we will still get the opportunity to play this year,” McCoy reasoned.
“My roommates and I have had to get creative with training using whatever we can find to stay fit and sharp on the ball. Our apartment complex has a parking garage, so most days we spend a good amount of time on top of the garage working out and getting touches,” she noted.
Training aside, McCoy, a bright and bubbly personality, has also been using the break to explore new hobbies and broaden her football horizon.
“I am currently taking an online medical course and learning more about football-related injuries and their management, and I am taking a beginner guitar course to try and learn a new instrument. I have also spent a lot of time reading, trying new recipes, and of course watching movies with my roommates, and these are things I haven’t had a lot of time for in the past,” the diminutive forward, who holds a degree in cultural anthropology and a minor in chemistry, shared.
Meanwhile, with Texas, the second largest state by area and population, gradually reopening, McCoy is optimistic that things will be back to regular proceedings and the NWSL season can eventually get under way.
Needless to say, she is intent on using her recent goal-scoring exploits with the Reggae Girlz as motivation to springboard her ambitions for Houston Dash and the NWSL.
“I am currently just looking forward to this upcoming season and hoping action will start soon because I’m excited to see what I am able to accomplish personally and with the team,” she said with a glow.
“I also am looking forward to the next time Jamaica can organise a camp because I miss the girls, and I miss playing in the black green and gold,” added a delighted McCoy.
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