We caught up with professional soccer star and GO Ambassador, Kyah Simon, the first Indigenous Australian soccer player to score a World Cup goal. Kyah lives most of the year in Texas where she plays key forward with the Houston Dash team in the US National Women’s Soccer League.  She made time in her busy schedule to share some more of her story, and her wisdom, with us.

ALEX (GO’s Head of Media): Kyah, you’re back in Texas with your team, the Houston Dash. How is your 2019 season going? You look like you’re having a great one!

KYAH SIMON:  It’s great to be back in Texas with the Houston Dash. I love living over here in America, doing what I love, playing football and feeling 100% healthy and injury free again, which is nice. I’m surrounded by great teammates and friends, so makes it living away from family and friends in Australia easier.

ALEX: You’ve achieved so much, and yourfamily must be so proud of you.  Who were your role models growing up?   What’s the most important advice they gave you?

KYAH: My role models growing up were Cathy Freeman and David Beckham.  I never got to meet either of them growing up, but I was inspired by their talent and achievements.   I had a lot of mentors and coaches who helped shape me into the footballer I am today. Most importantly, my parents helped shape me into the woman I am today, so I owe a lot to them. My Dad always use dto say, “No pain, no gain” and “You only get out what you put in”.

ALEX: You are now a role model to our GO Scholars, and to so many other girls and boys.  What can you tell them about chasing and achieving their dreams?

KYAH: Something I’ve always lived by is the thought: Don’t limit yourself with low expectations, dream big and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it!

The first part is setting down goals or a dream, then working towards that, whether that be ticking off the smaller goals that will help you reach your ultimate dream or goal.

It’s important to be prepared for setbacks, and don’t stop at a bump in the road.

Work hard, dream big!

ALEX: In 2011, you became the first Indigenous Australian player to score a goal in a FIFA World Cup, and the first Aboriginal player to net a goal for the women’s national team. What was that like?

KYAH: It was honestly amazing. To play in my first World Cup as an 18-year-old, to score my first World Cup goal and to be the first Indigenous player to score a goal at a World Cup is a huge honour for me.  It’s a moment in my career I will never forget.

I hope that moment can be used as a vehicle to inspire all indigenous kids around Australia that no matter who you are, or where you come from, you are destined to make a positive change in this world, no matter the career path you choose.

ALEX: Being a professional athlete takes you all over the world.  How do you deal with living out of a suitcase and being so far from family? What little bit of home can’t you be without? 

KYAH: It’s difficult at times.  I miss Australia a lot (it’s honestly the best country in the world).  Living out of a suitcase is hard, but being able to call Houston home for majority of the year makes life easier to settle in. Houston is my second home, and where we play our ‘at home’ games.

I miss family and friends from Australia, but my football career has a time limit on it. So, for me, it’s living that life to the fullest and making the most of all that being a professional footballer has to offer. I miss my nephew the most.  Watching him grow so fast is hard when I’m not be there to see it in person. FaceTime and technology though make it easier to be able to stay connected with family back home.

ALEX: What Aussie essentials do you take on the road with you?  Do you pack your Vegemite?

KYAH: Yes! Vegemite goes everywhere with me, even on away trips. I have it everyday with my avocado toast.

ALEX:  How do you deal with the tough times and stay positive when the stakes are so high? Recovering from your recent surgery for example, you worked so hard at rehab, and always with a smile!

KYAH: It’s tough, especially when you’re faced with adversity. My family are hugely supportive of me, and I have a few close friends who understand me the most. Hearing positive reinforcement and support from the ones I love most keeps me going.  There are only very few times I feel like giving up.  When that thought creeps into my mind however, I turn to those people and they get me back on track.

ALEX: Thanks so much Kyah, and we wish you every success for the rest of 2019!