Heyman announces Westfield Matildas retirement

Westfield Matildas striker Michelle Heyman has announced her retirement from international football, saying ‘my body isn’t going to allow me to do it any more’.

Heyman enjoyed a successful career with the Westfield Matildas, winning 61 caps and scoring 20 goals.

But the 30-year-old has battled a string of injuries in recent years – including ankle and knee problems – forcing her to call time on her career with the national team.

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"I know I've achieved what I ever wanted to achieve. I've ticked all my boxes that I set out to tick,” Heyman said on Fox Sports on Thursday.

"The only one that I did fail with was bringing home the gold medal from the Olympics. It's something that I've always wanted.

And I really wanted to fight for that in the 2020 Olympics coming up, but my body isn't going to allow me to do that. My mind isn't going to allow me to do that.

"I'm just ready now to focus on myself and focus on my career outside the sport and who knows what's going to happen after this. Right now, I know this is the best decision for myself and I'm ready to go with it."

Heyman made her Westfield Matildas debut back in 2010 and went on to play at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, as well as going to two AFC Asian Cups (2014 and 2018).


But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the Shellharbour-born attacker, who revealed she has battled with anxiety for much of her career.

“I really didn't understand what was going on,” Heyman said.

"I would try and go to bed but couldn't sleep, and then start panicking about my breathing and actually have a couple of panic attacks most nights, which was a big struggle. I had no idea what it was.

"When I found out that it was because I was just anxious, there was a way I could deal with it...it has made a big difference in my life."

Michelle Heyman embraces Katrina Gorry after a goal for the Westfield Matildas
Michelle Heyman (left) embraces Katrina Gorry after a goal for the Westfield Matildas

One of the key people that helped Heyman through those times was her Westfield Matildas teammate Katrina Gorry.

"We were attached at the hip, my best mate,” said a teary Heyman.

That makes me actually a little bit more emotional than anything else. She [Gorry] was my support system the entire time throughout my career.”

Heyman may continue playing in the Westfield W-League next season, having completed the 2018/19 campaign with Adelaide United.

She also spent eight seasons with Canberra United, where she scored 56 goals in 93 appearances, helping the club to two Championships (2011/12 and 2014) and two Premierships (2011/12, 2013/14).