All roads lead home for well-travelled McCormick

Jenna McCormick has returned to Adelaide United.
2022/23 tickets on sale.

Mount Gambier born Jenna McCormick is as excited as ever to return to her hometown club, Adelaide United, after five years out of the State.

It’s like turning over a leaf for the versatile centre-back who has had recent ventures abroad in Spain and Denmark, yet at the same time feels like time has barely passed.

Except the landscape has certainly changed dramatically ahead of her third stint at the Reds, and a more mature McCormick specifically notes the vast improvement and respect given to Adelaide United’s Women’s program.

“A lot has changed from the Club’s perspective; I’ve seen massive improvements in and around the group for training already and the amount of resources we now have,” McCormick said.

“It’s a clear indication the Club is now at point where they are investing a lot of time and effort into this program, which is exactly what us players deserve, what the league deserves, and what the team deserves.

“I’ve always looked back at Adelaide as somewhere that I’ve desperately wanted to come back and play and for it to work out as it has now, I’m just so grateful to have that opportunity to represent my home State again.”

McCormick has never shied away from a challenge, venturing to Europe in 2020 to play for Real Betis in a bid to qualify for the Olympics with the Matildas.

But despite the best intentions it didn’t quite work out as she had planned.

McCormick found a significant language and cultural barrier in Spain to be the main hurdle and her contract was mutually terminated early in the piece.

However, the tide turned just as it often does in football and after representing Melbourne City in 2020/21, she thrived 2600km north of Seville in Aarhus, Denmark with AGF Fodbold under the charges of former United international Katrine Pedersen.

Not only was the stint in Denmark a foreshadowing of future circumstances given this connection to ex-Reds midfielder Pedersen, it was where she met her partner who has also relocated to Adelaide.

“It’s looking very great for the future here and aside from all the challenging experiences that I’ve had, and all the good ones, it’s just a great feeling to be back of course.

“Away from football I’ll be getting stuck into my Danish language learning as well which I managed to gain a lot of experience in from my time there, and I don’t want it to drop off.”

At 28, McCormick still has her eyes firmly fixed on a FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ World Cup spot with the Matildas after missing out on selection in the last year.

And she knows a strong start back with the Reds can boost those chances rapidly.

“You’ve always got to have that self-belief because you know anything can happen in football, which is why I wanted to put myself in the best environment possible,” McCormick said.

“And coming back to Adelaide United, bringing my partner here with me, and being with my family, it all feels like it’s coming together nicely even if there is just that one per cent chance of making it back into the national set-up.

“Hopefully I can have a very good and consistent year with the girls and hopefully that leads into some further opportunities.”

McCormick will have more than 20 games and ideally a finals series to prove her point, which she notes is the same number of matches that the top players in Sweden and reigning World Cup champions, USA, play.

She may not have imagined that she would have the opportunity to not only play so many matches in a season, but her whole career to date, when starting out as a junior for Blue Lake Soccer Club in Mount Gambier where she would often play with the boys. It’s also the very same club her father, Brian, made over 500 appearances for.

“This year being 20 rounds plus finals is fantastic and next year we’ll have even more games than in the UK, so it’s the perfect opportunity for Australian-based players to stay and make this league better,” McCormick said.

“It’s what we’ve been asking for for the last five years instead of a 12-game season and we will also now attract more players from overseas for longer and you’ll only see the league go up and up.

“To be getting zero dollars back in 2012 to where we are now is fantastic.”

A player feeling right at home and content once again knowing she gave everything overseas will only benefit a rejuvenated McCormick and her beloved Reds.

Only at Coopers – Adelaide United memberships on-sale now.