- Australia’s Emily Gielnik set for first World Cup after previously narrowly missing selection
- Sold her business to chase her France 2019 dream
- Three-time quarter-finalists open against Italy on Sunday
By Pete Smith with Australia
Three years ago Emily Gielnik made a resolution. The powerful Australia forward had fallen short by one spot of going to an Olympic Games, having also narrowly missed FIFA Women’s World Cup™ selection a year earlier.
A ‘no-stone-unturned’ personal pledge was undertaken in a bid to earn a ticket to France 2019. And it wasn’t just a simple dedication to training. Gielnik twice moved cities and even gave up her gym business to help reach her goal.
“Missing the Olympics was the most devastation I have felt in my career,” Gielnik told FIFA.com.
“I feel like I had to make some really big decisions, because I wanted this to be my career, and I didn’t want to look back when I am 30 or 40 and be thinking about the ‘what ifs’. I want to be able to put everything into it while I can.”
Nicknamed Shreds for her dedication in the gym, which was also the name of her fitness centre, Gielnik firstly moved from her Brisbane home to join Melbourne Victory, and earlier this year spent months in Sydney for intense training after the W-League season concluded.
Three weeks ago Gielnik collected a hard-earned reward for her dedication with selection in the Matildas squad for France.
“It is everything I ever dreamt of back to when I first started playing football,” she said. “It has been a long and eventful journey but I’m finally here.
“I was always passionate about fitness and health, and helping people in that regard. I was actually obsessed with it. But once I broke into the Matildas squad, it (running the gym) was a lot tougher.
“I’m not going to be in my 20s forever, so I need to do what I can, while I can, with football.
“It has been an up and down journey. I wanted to move to Sydney to give them no reason not to see me train and play. That was really important to me.”
Now the next step begins with the ultimate football competition. The Aussies will open against Italy on Sunday in Valenciennes before further Group C outings against Brazil and Jamaica.
Despite her powerful physique, Gielnik has no shortage of finesse. Spectacular goals and accurate delivery from wide areas have become an increasing speciality for the 27-year-old, who boasts a Croatia-born mother and more distant Polish heritage on her dad’s side.
“I could really feel the desire I had. Football requires a lot of sacrifice. To make that sacrifice worth it, I did everything that I planned to do. I really do feel like I have earned it, given what I left behind.”