It hasn’t been a quick or easy road, but the light is appearing at the end of the tunnel for defender Chelsea Blissett.
The 21-year-old last December suffered the injury that no sportsperson ever wants to do, the dreaded torn anterior crucial ligament.
It couldn’t have come at a worse time either - as Blissett went down in training just weeks before the 2020/21 season was due to kick-off.
Having bided her time appearing mostly as a substitute in her first two seasons at the Club, it was set to be her breakout year – but football can be a cruel game - and it wasn’t to be.
She is now nearing eight months post-surgery and has been cleared to begin team training and hopes to be ready to go for full contact drills by the start of pre-season.
"I'm just looking forward to being around the girls again and being a part of the team,” Blissett said.
“That's probably one of the most disappointing things about a long-term injury - it's such a solo experience and you miss that team aspect and the vibes of the team.”
Originally from Albury-Wodonga, there’s no doubt where Blissett now calls home having signed on at City for the next three years. She has 13 W-League appearances to her name and will be looking to heavily increase that number over her next few seasons in a City blue shirt.
“I always had in my mind that I wanted to come back, and after quite a horror start to pre-season last year, the support that the Club has given me made it a no-brainer,” she said.
“They've supported me through this whole process - even when I wasn't contracted - and that's something that I really appreciate.
“The Club has been exceptional with all of the little things and it means a lot to me because obviously it's such a tough time for any footballer. You can sometimes feel a bit disconnected from everyone, but the Club has never once made me feel like that."
City fans will be hoping to see Blissett back out on the pitch early in the season and can rest easy knowing she’ll be doing everything possible to ensure that’s the case.
“She’s done all the right things throughout her recovery and has maintained a positive mindset during the whole process which has been great to see,” W-League Head Coach Rado Vidosic said.
Although she may still be just 21 years old, Blissett is set to be one of the longest tenured players in City’s W-League squad. She may not have taken to the pitch last year but said she’s ready for the challenge of stepping up and becoming a more vocal presence.
“Now going into my fourth season at the Club and as almost an older player, I want to be a leader of the team.”
For Blissett, getting back out the pitch will be a big accomplishment for a number of reasons.
“I'm just looking forward to playing with everyone again and being able to prove to myself that this is just a little set back,” she said.
“Not being in football for 12 months makes you realise where you stand and how you feel about everything.
“I'm just excited to get back into it and have fun, if I can get to the end of the season and I’ve done that - I'll be happy.”
The W-League season is set to kick off on November 13. Head to citymembership.com.au to sign up as a City Member for season 2021/22!