Adelaide United defender Jenna McCormick (Picture: Adelaide United supplied by Jordan Trombetta, Design by Madeline Irwin)

Over a decade since making her A-League debut in 2012 against Melbourne Victory, veteran defender Jenna McCormick notched up 100 league games in December. Carving out stellar career which has spanned five different clubs, she has grown immensely from the 18-year-old from Mount Gambier, who first signed with the Reds.

Jenna McCormick is a name that is synonymous with the Adelaide United A-League Women’s team despite having stints at Canberra United, Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City.

Having been at those clubs has given McCormick an appreciation for what it takes to play in the league for that amount of time and a thirst to pave the way for the next generation of female footballers.

Jenna McCormick spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum about her career, the decision to come back ‘home’ and how the Reds can get back on the winner’s list against the Brisbane Roar on Sunday.

Hitting the 100 game milestone for Adelaide United after two previous stints with the club, including her debut season, McCormick reflected on her time in the league with an away trip to face the Wellington Phoenix. Luckily for her, Adelaide registered a 1-0 win to make the occasion all the more sweet.

“It was really special [and] I think it was a reflection on the last 10 years I’ve spent in the league and it’s pretty crazy to think it’s taken me this long to get to 100 games,” McCormick told The Inner Sanctum.

“It’s nice to look back and reflect all the years that I have spent here, the teams that I’ve played for [and] the players that I’ve played with. [I’ve played with] some amazing players over the years and against [some] as well and I’ve been very lucky to have these opportunities across the country.

“It was just a nice moment of achievement to reflect [on] and be proud of that as well and [I] hope for more games to add to that tally in the coming years but it was nice that we got the win as well.

“It was special to be able to celebrate it with new players in the group this year and players that I’d already been able to play with. It was really nice for me [and] the club made me feel really special to be able to achieve that as well.”

Having previously plied her trade overseas in Iceland, Norway, Spain and Denmark, McCormick could have continued to pursue these exciting opportunities, however the thought of home beckoned, with life outside the game at the forefront.

Signing with Adelaide on a one-year contract ahead of season 2022/23, the experienced centre-back had matters of the heart on her mind. Meeting her partner while overseas, as well as the desire to be closer to her family, McCormick needed to come back to the team on the rise.

“I’ve been away for a few years and I just wanted to be around my family [and] I know the Adelaide United program has improved drastically since I’ve last been here so I had good reports that it would be a good environment to be in,” she explained.

“I also last year in Denmark met my partner who is here in Australia with me now and it was important for me to be able to bring her into my family environment and just think about life a little bit outside of football. She’s really important to me and her being in and around my family was a really important thing for me to be able to have.

“It was [also] about coming back home to Adelaide and as a South Australian [Adelaide United] was a club that I was fond of and [will always] hold dear to my heart, it was a combination of environment, personal life and family and just knowing that it was the right time and the right decision to sort of come home.”

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Having previous been a part of the club in 2012 through to 2015 as well as the 2017/18 campaign, McCormick has kept an eye on the league and her former team. With the team managing to make their maiden finals appearance last season, she was eager to come and help lift the team to finals for a second consecutive year.

“Last year [it] was great to see them get through to finals, so I knew that the group had a lot of potential to be able to do that again and that expectation was higher [and] that we make finals again,” McCormick said.

“We haven’t had the greatest of runs the last couple of months which is unfortunate but we’ve got it in the group and we are capable of doing it because there are not that many people that have changed within the squad from last year to this year.

“It’s doable to turn this around for us and I hope the players can sort of draw on [the] experience from last year and sort of turn it around at the end of the season and really show that we are a good enough team that deserves to be in the finals.”

With the last six games resulting in losses against Newcastle Jets, Canberra United, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City and a draw with the Brisbane Roar, the Reds are precariously sitting third on the A-League ladder thanks to early season form.

When speaking to McCormick about the form slump, she is confident that the building blocks for wins are within the team but they need to get back to doing the basics right to get back to winning ways.

“We are not 100 per cent sure what else we need to do, I think definitely in our final third not scoring any goals is letting us down and it’s putting a lot of pressure on the backline but in saying that as a group we need to be better,” she said.

“We need to be better with our first touch, with our passing [and] just not panicking on the ball, I think we need to start there and then hopefully we can see it sort of come together.

“Fundamentally I think we know the players around us and we know how we want to play, it’s just the final touches and the finishing and our execution that’s letting us down in really vital moments and we are getting punished for it so we need to start there with the basics just to be able to create more opportunity and in turn score more goals and win more games.”

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