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After having to endure a very frustrating season, Sophie Scherschel is aiming to make up for lost time on her return to playing after a long time out of the game.
The defender sustained a cruciate ligament injury whilst playing for Cardiff Met Ladies in the UEFA Women's Champions League in August of last year and it curtailed her season after just two matches, forcing her to sit out the entire campaign as her team narrowly missed out on the Orchard Welsh Premier Women's League title to Swansea City.
After much hard work getting herself back to full fitness, Sophie is now back playing regularly again and the signs are also good for the Archers, as they lead the table with a 100% record as well as progressing in both cup competitions.
"It's a lengthy process," Sophie told Women's Soccer Scene. "You practically have to learn to walk again after the operation but if you can keep focused on the short term goals, even when the long term goal seems unreachable, then with commitment and a lot of hard work it's doable.
"It's great to be back on the pitch after so long. It's the ultimate goal for any injury but with an ACL the process is so long, often you forget the outcome, so to have got back to full fitness and playing every week feels incredible."
Sophie admitted that last season overall was a frustrating one. "Watching the team last year wasn't particularly enjoyable," she recalled, "no offence to the girls but whether they win or lose, I just wanted to be on the pitch with them.
"Missing out on the title was obviously not in our plans but we viewed the season as a rebuilding year and came away with both the League Cup and Welsh Cup so it wasn't without success. I think watching the girls winning silverware was almost as hard as watching them lose the title but this season, I'm happy to be back out there with them and hopefully we will have some success this year that I can play a part in."
Things are looking good so far with Met having won all of their league games so far including an important 2-1 win recently against reigning Champions Swansea. "An unbeaten start this season shows the desire we have in the team to achieve," says Sophie. "But it's a long season and we have to perform week in week out to win the title, so we'll use the good start we've had to spur us on in the rest of our games.
"Swansea were also unbeaten when we faced them and second in the league, so to get three points from that game is definitely significant in the title race. But as I've said, it's a long season and there are plenty more games that we need to perform in and win before we'll know the real significance of that particular game."
This week, weather permitting, Met make the long trip north to play Rhyl and Sophie is not expecting an easy clash there: "Rhyl away is always a good game and we've had some tough battles up there throughout the years. We'll be expecting a physical game and lots of energy and desire from the opposition, so we'll need to match that in order to get the result."
Even though Met have been winning each week, Sophie admits that the league is getting stronger and harder to win every season. "I've been in this league since 2011 so I've seen its growth each year, there's definitely improvement with each season as teams get better and I think recent results show this," she says.
"It's great to see and hopefully the competition will get tougher and tougher."
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