Soccer 2023: Women’s World Cup; Ellie Carpenter makes an emotional return

Matildas defender Ellie Carpenter has taken a big step towards World Cup selection after playing for French club Olympique Lyonnais less than nine months after tearing her cruciate ligament.

Matildas defender Ellie Carpenter has returned to the field just over eight months after tearing her cruciate ligament to keep her World Cup dream alive.

Carpenter appeared early on Sunday morning (Australian time) for French club Olympique Lyonnais after months of intensive rehabilitation on the left knee she injured in last May’s Champions League final, taking a first concrete step towards regaining her made Matildas jerseys.

The full-back, 22, thanked her supporters in an emotional social media post after getting back on the ground. Her feed was soon flooded with messages from other Matildas.

“I’m very proud and grateful to be back on the pitch with my teammates,” Carpenter said in an Instagram and Twitter post.

“I have learned a lot about myself in these months. Those who have been with us since day 1. Thank you, my support system has been second to none. Wouldn’t be here without you. I’m just getting started.”

Her Instagram story included a picture with the caption “259 days later,” which referred to the accelerated recovery since she tore her cruciate ligament and underwent surgery in France to recover in time for a home World Cup.

Matilda’s captain Sam Kerr was among the first to welcome her back and national team-mates Alanna Kennedy, Mackenzie Arnold, Hayley Raso, Chloe Logarzo and Caitlin Foord were among the first to congratulate her.

Carpenter was not among the 25 players to be called up for the Australia Nations Cup later this month, where the Matildas will welcome goalkeeper Arnold, striker Emily Gielnik and midfielder Tameka Yallop from injury.

But speaking to News Corp late last year, she remained confident her recovery was on track for a historic World Cup due to take place in Australia and New Zealand from July.

“When I did my ACL I knew I had plenty of time so I wasn’t worried about it but I’m not going to rush my injury and I’ll just take it day in and day out. ” She said.

“If I feel strong and ready then that’s it, but I’m on the right track so hopefully by then I’ll be good and really ready to go.”

Surely she’s dying to be a part of the greatest women’s sporting event in history.

After being at home during her rehab and leading up to a World Cup event, Carpenter has felt the support in Australia for the tournament.

“It becomes unreal, it becomes sick,” she said.

“It will be one of the biggest tournaments for women in the history of the sport, with a record number of spectators and teams.

“Obviously it’s going to be a huge event and what could be better than hosting a World Cup on home soil. I can’t wait to see Australians in the stands and a full house.”

Originally published as Women’s World Cup 2023: All the Matildas news; Ellie Carpenter returns Soccer 2023: Women’s World Cup; Ellie Carpenter makes an emotional return

Ryan Sederquist

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