by Ben Gilby (10/8/22)
Above: Michelle Heyman (right) in action for Canberra United last season against Brisbane Roar. Photo: Canberra United.
Canberra United announced this morning that Michelle Heyman has agreed a two-year marquee deal with the club with will keep her in green up until the conclusion of the 2023/2024 season.
Heyman, the Liberty A-League all-time leading scorer having netted 82 times in 141 matches, is a Canberra United legend having won two Grand Finals with the club, scoring a brace in the win over Brisbane Roar in the showdown at McKellar Park in 2012.
In addition to agreeing terms with United, Heyman will also be installed in the role of Capital Football, Football Ambassador, where she will have leadership in promoting the game to the Canberra football community, as well as helping to boost participation.
“I am absolutely thrilled to sign a new two-year contract with Canberra United,” Heyman said of the announcement.
“It’s no secret that I love being part of the club here in Canberra and that I have enjoyed many happy memories playing in the famous green shirt.
“With Njegosh (Popovich) being named Head Coach, and the addition of his coaching staff and some excellent young signings, it was an easy decision for me to commit to the club for the next two seasons. I am excited by the direction that the club is taking and can’t wait to get started.”
The symbolism of having a two-year deal is powerful for Heyman. “It’s the first time I’ve had a two-year deal anywhere, so it’s great to have that security and also that the club don’t necessarily view me as old!”
As well as being delighted about her new contract, Heyman is over the moon about the team moving back to McKellar Park for the season. “I’m super happy to be back at the cauldron, it has so many memories of the past. The fans make this feel different from anywhere else. The other clubs hate coming here as everyone is always cheering.
“I’ve put so much blood, sweat, and tears into this club. I wear this club on my sleeve. I am Canberra United. It sums up what I have done for this club and what I can do for this club. It made me feel wanted and feel that the club value me.”
The Australian football icon highlighted the wider consequences of being given a two-year deal, admitting: “I might not have to have a job now. I want to make sure that every minute now I have a chance – there’s a World Cup coming up and I have a point to prove and goals to score.
The addition of Heyman to the United roster means that Head Coach Njegosh Popovich has a top-class finisher in his ranks, the striker having scored 20 goals in 61 internationals for the Matildas, and another experienced head to guide the younger players around her.
Heyman struck nine times in fourteen outings during the 2021/2022 Liberty A-League season, including a last-day hat-trick in a 3-3 draw against Brisbane Roar.
“I am thrilled that Michelle has committed herself to Canberra United for the next two Liberty A-League campaigns,” Popovich enthused.
“There is no doubt that she is one of the greatest strikers to have played the women’s game, and her goal-scoring record in the A-League is incredible. But it’s not just her goals that makes her such a special talent.
“Michelle is a very clever footballer in the way she can drop deep and dictate the tempo of attacks and how she links up between midfield and the forward line. Whilst her finishing is exemplary, it’s her all-round game that makes her a standout.”
Heyman is Canberra United’s eleventh signing for the forthcoming Liberty A-League season.