In depth: Condon on sacrifices, Matildas debut

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No pathway to becoming a professional footballer is without its sacrifices and challenges.

However, some have to make more than others in order to achieve their dreams.

For Emily Condon her story of dedication and commitment is rather extraordinary.

Born in Port Pirie, approximately 230km north of Adelaide, Condon was not going to let arduous travel get in the way of achieving a life-long ambition of making it as a footballer.

She did all 12 years of schooling in the small town, traveling to and from Adelaide often four or five times a week while playing for various clubs, state teams and in her early years with Adelaide United.

Condon vividly remembered one time sitting a year 11 exam before driving to Adelaide to take on Sydney FC later that evening.

Indeed, it would not have been possible without the help of her parents and for that she is incredibly thankful for.

“It was definitely worth it, I mean looking back though now I don’t know how I did it,” Condon reflected.

“I don’t think I could do it again, but all the sacrifices I made, and the sacrifices my family made I hope that they think it was worth it as well.”

Condon found her way into the game at a young age after her older brother and father would play in the backyard.

Emily Condon has re-signed for the Westfield W-League 2020/21 season commencing on December 27.

It was not long until the midfielder played for local side Northern Demons – an all-boys team before getting into the state system.

“I started playing football when I was seven for my school team up at Port Pirie, St. Marks,” she said.

“I got into soccer there, my older brother and dad were always out in the backyard kicking a ball and I’d always join in with them.

"And when I was old enough my parents signed me up for the school soccer team which I played in until year 7.

“The majority of that time I was one of a few girls in the competition, if not some years the only girl in the competition.

“From there I went and played for the local club there, Northern Demons boys in under 13s.

“I played there with my older brother and then from there I tried out for state teams, like under 15s state so I went through the state system, NTC.

“It was during that time I got to play with an all-girls team for the first time, so that was exciting.”

Emily Condon playing for Adelaide United in 2014
Emily in action versus Canberra United in 2014.

Condon would make her Reds debut at 15 during the 2013/14 season and has since gone on to amass 60 matches, while scoring eight goals to lie third on the Club’s all-time appearances list.

However, the 22-year-old admitted she never felt a point in time that she had made it at the highest level in Australia.

“I think there wasn’t really like a set moment in time, I think it was more so going through the ranks of the different teams,” she said.

“Making the under 13 team, then making the under 15 team, and then just keep progressing that way.

“I made my debut for Adelaide United at 15 and I thought, ‘wow this is pretty cool, this is something that I want to keep doing’.

“I didn’t know so much you could make a living out of it at that stage but I just kept going with it.”

Although she does have all those appearances next to her name, she missed the entire 2016/17 campaign after contracting rhinovirus with the Young Matildas in a pre-qualifying tournament in China.

It meant Condon was determined to have a bounce back season the following year and make up for lost time.

Her mission started with World Cup Qualifiers with the Young Matildas where she impressed then Matildas boss, Alen Stajcic.

Her solid form continued with Adelaide that Westfield W-League season and following its conclusion was called up to the senior squad for the 2018 Algarve Cup.

Condon had the honour of representing her country when she was introduced on the hour mark in a 0-0 stalemate with hosts, Portugal.

Emily Condon vs Portugal
Emily Condon in action for the Matildas against Portugal.

“It was prior to the W-League season where I went with the under 20 Matildas for the World Cup qualifiers,” she reminisced with fondness.

“Unfortunately, we lost there but I think from that tournament I played really well, Staj (Alen Stajcic), was really happy with me.

“And then going in from that tournament into a strong W-League season I’d say, so from there I was fortunate to get the call up and travel to Portugal.

“That experience was great, it was something I’d worked for, for many, many years and just to have the opportunity to travel and be around the group and have that experience of training with them and being in that environment was pretty cool. 

“Obviously to make my debut, I remember being very nervous, so much adrenaline, but it was just awesome to have made my debut and to know that all the hard work and all the hours spent travelling and the sacrifices was all worth it.”

It remains her only cap to date but stated it is a goal of hers to play more for the national team in the future.

To achieve that, Condon is cognisant she will need to have a productive season wherever she is deployed on the pitch.

“I’m just hoping to build on my last season and previous seasons,” she continued, after recently re-signing with the Club.

“To just be better and be the best I can be and offer the most I can to the team and hopefully as a team we can make finals for the first time.

“It’s been something we’ve been striving for, for a very long time now so I’m hoping and we’re all working towards that goal so that would be amazing if we got to do that.”

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