England striker Kelly Smith writes her monthly column exclusively for The FA.com
England striker Kelly Smith writes her monthly column exclusively for The FA.com... This month, Kelly looks forward to England duty as she returns back to action from her six-month injuryHappy new year to you all!
I hope you all had a great Christmas. Over Christmas I went to the Caribbean to St Marteen with my friend for a week. I had a really nice relaxing time, it was good to get away into some warm weather. It was a little weird to be spending Christmas Day lying in the sun on the beach though!
I have been back training with the ball for about a month now. I have been spending 45 minutes two times a week in a squash court kicking the ball against the wall and just trying to get comfortable again turning and receiving the ball.
I have been playing some small-sided games with an Under-15 local girls team. Also when some of the girls are available from my old college Seton Hall, I get together with them and play in the gym.
The knee is good. I am over the six-month recovery mark now and going strong. It feels great to be back kicking a ball. I have missed playing a great deal. Five months is a long time to be sitting out and preparing yourself to be playing again.
My aims are to stay healthy and be patient with any kind of reactions from my knee. I have wanted so bad for the past two years to stay injury-free, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. This year I hope is my year.
There have been some hard times emotionally and it hasn't been easy, but I believe I have come out of this a stronger person.
I am very excited for the season. I meet-up with my Philadelphia Charge team-mates on February 15th and the first game is on 5th April in San Jose.
There have been a lot of changes since last season. We have two new assistant coaches. One used to coach the men's team at Duke University and the other is a guy from Norway. I am looking forward to working with both of them because they bring some different ideas to the table.
We have a couple of top college players coming into the camp, which is also going to help the team. One of our Chinese players retired last year so we have signed a Czech girl who has been playing in the Bundesliga in Germany. She is a kind of an unknown but supposed to be an excellent player. I am looking forward to linking up with her.
But before I can think about all that, I will be meeting up with my England team-mates in La Manga. I am really looking forward to being a part of the team again. I haven't been around a team environment since August when the WUSA season ended so I miss that.
The last time I saw the team was when I came over to England for the first World Cup play-off game against France.
I didn't go to the away game, but I was thinking about it all day. Then I got a phone call from Sammy Britton telling me the result.
I have spoken to my Philadelphia team-mate Marinette Pichon a couple of times since, but not about the game though - it's a tough situation. She scored in the home leg against us when I was in England. She knew how hard it was for me to sit out and not be a part of the game. We talked before we even knew England would face France about playing in a World Cup and it was our biggest dream.
See you soon!