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Kyah Simon

Kyah Simon is an accomplished Australian soccer player who has made significant contributions to the Matildas, Australia's national women's soccer team. Simon debuted for the Matildas in 2007, quickly establishing herself as a key forward known for her speed, agility, and goal-scoring prowess.

Simon gained international recognition during the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, where she became the first Indigenous Australian player to score a goal in a World Cup. Her performance helped the Matildas reach the quarterfinals, marking a historic achievement for the team. She has also represented Australia in multiple AFC Women's Asian Cups, contributing to the team's victories in 2010 and 2014.

In addition to her national team success, Simon has had a notable club career, playing for teams in the W-League, NWSL, and other international leagues. Her club stints include playing for Sydney FC, Melbourne City, and the Houston Dash, among others. Simon's resilience and dedication to the sport have made her a role model and an inspiration for young athletes, especially within the Indigenous community.

Throughout her career, Kyah Simon has been celebrated not only for her on-field achievements but also for her advocacy and efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in sports. Her legacy continues to influence the growth and popularity of women's soccer in Australia and beyond. Kyah discovered that she had a gluten intolerance in 2018! We are very fortunate to speak with Kyah about her amazing insights into living gluten free and advice for those living with food restrictions!

 

You've had an incredible career so far, is there a particular highlight in your career that stands out for you on your journey?

My debut when I was 16 against USA in 2008. Scoring against Brazil in the Round of 16, to send us through to the quarterfinals in 2015 World Cup. Scoring the winning penalty for us to win 2010 Asian Cup and last year’s World Cup here in Australia.

What is your relationship with Gluten Free living?

It was 2018 I discovered I was intolerant to gluten and dairy and have since cut it out of my diet since then.

What is the biggest setback you have had in your career and what helped you overcome the challenge?

My left knee injury in October 2022, where I tore my ACL, MCL and meniscus. What helped me was setting small and big goals, keeping a routine to keep me on track and celebrating the small wins. It takes a strong will and determination to turn a bad situation around, as well as believing you can do it.

Did you have much awareness about what coeliac disease was when you were told you had the condition?

I had heard about it, but was never provided with much information and how that could affect me as an athlete. I wish I had got tested sooner as I think back to certain times throughout my career and how my stomach had felt around performance and games.

How do you best navigate international/domestic travel whilst staying true to your gluten-free diet requirements?

It is a challenge. I try to be as prepared as I can be, if that means packing my own food and meal prepping I will do that, as well as packing or buying my own snacks that are gluten and dairy free. 

Have you ever felt any extra stress prior to games knowing the consequences if you accidentally consume gluten? If so, what have you done to manage this.

Yes, all the time. Especially eating in hotels with the team, always having to double and triple check the ingredients of meals, to ensure I don’t accidentally consume it and it affects the way I perform. It’s super helpful when a representative of the team (club or The Matildas) take the responsibility of making sure they have foods suitable to consume in the team meal rooms, and allowing me to eat worry free and just focus on prepping best for the game.

Can you share any specific gluten-free meals or snacks that you find particularly beneficial and enjoyable for fuelling your training and games?

Snacks wise, I’m loving the new Arnott’s gluten free range - particularly their GF Jatz with hummus. Cobbs popcorn is one of my faves as well. And Gluten free penne bolognaise is my go to match day -1 dinner, to ensure I’m fuelled and carb loaded enough for the match. 

What advice would you give to aspiring athletes with dietary restrictions looking to excel in their chosen sport?

I would encourage any athlete to get all of their intolerances checked, I underestimated how much it would affect me and how much it has changed my quality of life. Eliminating inflammation within your body, giving you better gut health, clearer mind and avoiding all the nasty symptoms you get from consuming those foods. Preparing well, stock up your cupboards and fridge with a variety of gluten free range of sauces, condiments and snacks and try a variety of different brands, as you might have to shop around to find one that is to your desired taste.

Do you have a favourite motivational/inspirational quote?

Don’t limit yourself with low expectation, set your goals high and follow your dreams.


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