AUSTRALIA national team star Elise Kellond-Knight was refused a W-League homecoming this summer but says she won’t be denied a strong preparation leading into the Women’s World Cup.
Kellond-Knight is in Portugal with the Matildas, preparing to play Norway in the Algarve Cup opener (Thursday morning AEDT) and at tournament’s end she’ll be a free agent after winning a release from Germany’s Turbine Potsdam.
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The Queenslander asked for a release before Christmas, which the Frauen- Bundesliga club denied.
“My plan was to play in the W-League. Unfortunately due to contractual problems it didn’t happen,” Kellond-Knight told AAP.
“With time the club realised when a player’s not happy they can’t perform.”
The 27-year-old Matildas favourite — affectionately known to all as KK — contributed to three campaigns in Brandenburg but had run her course given the demands of the 10-month season which made playing in the W-League impossible.
“I had 2.5 years only in Germany with a handful of days at home. That eventually takes its toll,” she said.
“You start to feel really isolated with the culture, language, distance.
“My feelings built up and I got to the point where you’ve got to change something.
“You can’t just keep running against that wall so I made that decision.”
National team coach Alen Stajcic empathised.
“Once you’ve been on that merry-go-round you do need a bit of a break,” he told AAP.
“We’re so conditioned to men’s football that we don’t understand what women go through.” The big question for ‘KK’ is what’s next?
The National Women’s Soccer League in the USA — where many Australians ply their trade — is possible, though the timing of her release brings challenges.
“There is interest there but finding an international spot is a little bit tricky,” she said.
“The transfer window in Sweden is still open. Japan is possible too.
“Of course a last resort, returning to Australia … doing a combination of training with Brisbane Roar’s youth team and playing with the Matildas.”
Stajcic said Kellond-Knight would be looked after.
“Clare Polkinghorne is a good example of someone that stayed at home this year but had a really good training environment up in Brisbane,” he said. “All the ones that are staying at home this year, we’ll provide that.”