After making her first start for Western United on Saturday, Jaclyn Sawicki said she ready to take on the remainder of the Liberty A-League Women season.
United’s captain star showed her class in midfield with a game-high 93.8% passing accuracy in the 5-0 win over Canberra United and said it was a relief to be working her way back to full fitness.
“It’s obviously been a longer road than originally expected, so I was super excited to be able to start and get 45 minutes with the girls, and obviously it was a great win for my first game back,” she said.
Not only was it her first start, but as the Club’s inaugural Liberty A-League captain it was Sawicki’s first chance to lead her teammates onto the pitch wearing the captain’s armband, something she said would stick with her.
“It obviously meant a lot to me. I tried not to think about it too much to be honest, I just wanted to focus on the game and what I had to do in my role on the park,” she said.
“I know it meant a lot to me and I know the girls really supported me for that first walkout.”
Now with the first start under her belt and with her body in good shape, Sawicki is eager to go all out in the coming months both for Western United and for the Philippines with the Women’s World Cup around the corner.
All of that opportunity is leaving Sawicki to feel a renewed sense of desperation and commitment on the pitch, one that will only be a positive as she continues to increase her match sharpness.
“There’s definitely a lot of things going on this year with the national team. This is probably the most motivated I’ve ever been and I think I am surrounded by the right people to get myself ready for such a big event,” she said.
Sawicki has been able to observe the team from the sidelines while working with the squad on the training pitch as it continues to evolve its philosophy and identity on the pitch.
Sawicki’s return to action has coincided with Danielle Steer’s arrival, and the captain had high praise for her fellow Canadian-born star after an impressive display.
“I think that was a big moment for her, especially with all this talk about Jess McDonald leaving,” she said.
“Obviously we know that was a huge loss for us and she’s had a huge impact on our team but I think Dani really stepped up in that moment, got her goal, got her assist and put out a good performance for us.”
On McDonald leaving at the end of her guest stint, Sawicki’s return comes at the perfect time as she hopes to bring her leadership into the dressing room on matchday.
“For sure there’s a little bit more for me and I think collectively as a group we’re all trying to step up together because that’s definitely a big hole to fill, but I think together we can do it and just keep going forward,” she said.
United will head to Ballarat for the first time in the Liberty A-League with two matches in quick succession against Perth Glory and Newcastle Jets.
The side enjoyed a pre-season stay in the area in November and got a taste of the support from the Ballarat fans, leaving Sawicki and her teammates excited to return.
“It’ll be awesome for the community out there and great for us to play at home. We’ve just had three away weekends which can take a toll, so I think we’re just excited to be together in the West and play over there,” she said.
Torcaso’s side is preparing to enter a big week with a huge meeting against Melbourne City lying around the corner after those two Ballarat meetings.
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