By LAWRENCE MACHADO
KYAH SIMON (FOOTBALL)
KYAH SIMON, one of Australia’s most capped and award-winning football Players , has battled injuries throughout her career. She never lacked confidence. At her first training session at Quakers Hill, Simon, then eight, famously told her mum she would one day represent Australia in the Olympics.
In 2011, Simon became the first Indigenous Australian to score a goal in a FIFA World Cup, having made her debut for the Matildas in 2007, aged just 16.
A veteran of World Cups, Asian Cups and the 2016 Rio Olympics, Simon has thrived in the top leagues in Europe, the US and Australia.
The ace striker regularly runs coaching camps for juniors in the Hills and around NSW.
“I come from a rugby league-playing family and began playing football at the Quakers Hill Juniors where I was one of the two females in the team,” Simon told me a few years ago. “I like to go back to the club and help them because they have given me the first opportunity to play rep football. It’s a huge honour they have named the golden boot after me and that will always keep me tied to the club.”
The Matildas play Great Britain in the Olympic quarterfinals tonight (Friday, July 28).
RACHEL LACK (SOFTBALL)
Rachel Lack, 26, who was named Softball Australia’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2013, took to the sport aged nine.
Lack helped Australia win bronze at the 2014 World Softball Championships and in 2019, was named Most Valuable Player and Player of the Grand Final at the Australian Championships. Growing up, she also took part in hockey, cross country, football, futsal, netball and swimming.
Lack, who worked as an exotic animal keeper at the Zambia Native Wildlife Retreat, said her stint at the University of Hawaii enhanced her game. “It was eye-opening,” she says in her Olympic profile. “It definitely gave me a bigger perspective on the sport…. it was a real learning curve.”
Although beating Italy, the newly named Aussie Spirit team missed out on the quarter-finals leaving host country Japan to win the Gold medal, USA claimed silver and Canada bronze.