Meet the Matildas hopeful carving her own career

Hannah Bacon in action for Australia at the AFC U-19 Women's Championship in 2017 Source: Getty Images

Hannah Bacon has relaunched her football career in Denmark and the former Sydney FC midfielder is eyeing a spot with the Matildas.

Bacon, the partner of Socceroos and Olyroos full-back Alex Gersbach, is playing for AGF in the Danish Elitedivisionen.

The 22-year-old left Australia in 2016 to join Gersbach in Norway after he signed for Rosenborg.

But Bacon hit pause on her own promising career when Gersbach was loaned to Ligue 1 outfit Lens in 2018.

A lack of opportunity in France, combined with a debilitating injury picked up while representing Australia at youth level, meant she spent more than a year out of the sport.

However, now she has found a home in Aarhus and her passion for the beautiful game has returned.

“Before this we were moving every six months and it just didn’t seem worth finding a team, working your way up and then moving again,” Bacon told The World Game.

“I’ve lived in four countries in the last three years. So I kind of just waited to see somewhere we were going to stay for a bit, and also I was injured a bit.

“We moved to France and I didn’t play in France as there was no local team. I went away with the Under-19s national team for the Asian Cup in China and I injured my heel and I was out for a year.

“That was a major setback. I kind of felt like my career was finished, I’m not going to be playing anymore.

"Then my foot got better after a year, we moved back to Norway and I was so rusty so I joined a team in the second division.

“And I got back for two games, it was so good, I felt great. Then we moved to Holland and there was no team, so I stopped playing for six months and then we moved here.

“So it’s been a lot of up and down, it hasn’t been smooth sailing at all but that’s OK. It’s looking good now. It’s really nice to be playing again. I feel rusty, even though I’ve been playing for a year, it takes a toll when you stop playing.

“I felt good, I started back and then the coronavirus hit and the league was cancelled – it just felt like God didn’t want me to play, it was just one thing after the other. But it’s good to be back playing again.

“The break also made me realise how much I wanted it again. When I wasn’t playing, I didn’t feel like myself, I felt like I’d lost something that was a big part of my whole life.

“So I did miss it a lot. But it was also nice to do some jobs, work.

"It was really cool to do something different as opposed to just training and you can't go out, you can’t experience some things because you have a game the next day.”

Bacon is in her second season with AGF, with the club rebranded from their previous name of VSK.

The midfielder, who grew up in Sydney’s Sutherland shire, is enjoying her time in Scandinavia.

“It’s awesome, Denmark’s a really cool country,” she said.

“I lived in Norway as well and I really like Scandinavia. Australia’s great but the only thing that kills me is that football isn’t the number one priority in Australia.

“That’s where we go wrong. It’s nice being in these countries where football is everything. It’s how it should be.

“After the break we came back and the club turned into AGF, it’s the same club that Alex plays for. It’s really good. It just makes them more professional and people are talking about it more and its linked with AGF.

“It’s not as super-serious as I’ve played before, but it’s still a good level and it’s the top Danish league.

"It’s been a really tough start to the season, we’ve had a lot of injuries and players leaving, and the coach leaving for family reasons.

“We’ve still got ambitions to do well. I think it has a lot of potential to be great.”

Bacon came through the Football NSW Institute before joining Sydney FC.

She only made seven appearances for the Sky Blues, breaking into the first-team as a teenager, and then departed for Europe with Gersbach.

“I was only 16, 17 there so I didn’t play a lot,” she explained.

“But I loved it at Sydney FC. It was very hard to leave. I was only 17, so I didn’t want to leave yet, so I waited a year and then I joined Alex in Norway. It was a big commitment but I’ve never looked back.

“It’s been the best four years, I’ve experienced a lot. I’ve been able to play football in two different countries, which a lot of girls my age can’t do because they need to be financially supported. So I’ve been really lucky in that regard.”

After representing the Young Matildas in the past, Bacon has set her sights on winning a senior cap. She knows, however, that breaking into the national team will be anything but easy.

“I think that’s every young girl’s dream who is playing football, they’d love that,” Bacon admitted.

“But also I am realistic and I do realise it’s a long way away now. You do see the Matildas, they’re all playing at very good clubs and at such high levels.

“So of course it’s an ambition, but also I have to be realistic. I am getting a bit older, but you never know. In saying that, it’s not that far away.

“Maybe I play in the Danish league and do really well, and get seen and get called up, and I do well. You never know. I’m always going to set my standards high.

“It would be amazing (to play for the Matildas), but who knows. It’s a very competitive squad.”