Simic: I am the happiest person now I’m back


Nothing could wipe the smile off of Julia Simic’s face as Wednesday’s Continental League Cup match with Crystal Palace came to a close. 

The German midfielder received a rapturous applause from West Ham United fans at Rush Green Stadium as she made her first appearance in almost exactly a year, coming on as a 79th-minute substitute in the 7-0 victory. 

The No10’s last West Ham showing came on Wednesday 12 December 2018, in a 2-0 win over Charlton Athletic, and Simic could not hide her elation at finally being back in action.

“I think I’m the happiest person!” she told “It means everything, being back on the pitch now and having some minutes. I’ve seen a light at the end of the tunnel after a 12-month injury. It’s such a nice feeling to be back and I’m really happy. 

“I’ve gotten to know so many people over there in the stand and I’d gotten used to watching our games and not being included or involved. But being back is a whole different atmosphere. 

I said to myself and promised myself I wouldn’t go out and play with any anxiety or being scared. I wanted to get touches, get on the ball and get back to doing what I love.

Julia Simic

“There’s a tension within yourself when you’re in that dressing room and you get on the pitch. You feel a bit nervous, but in a good way, and you just want to play. It’s just a great feeling to finally be involved again.”

Simic has worked tirelessly to return to football after spending almost all of 2019 on the sidelines. Countless hours in the gym and doing rehabilitation finally paid off with her outing on Wednesday, and the midfielder revealed she had to make herself an assurance before playing again.

“I said to myself and promised myself I wouldn’t go out and play with any anxiety or being scared. I wanted to get touches, get on the ball and get back to doing what I love.

“I know I could get really emotional when I think of this, but I felt really comfortable on the pitch.”

The midweek match also saw Esmee de Graaf make her first West Ham United start in a year after returning from an ACL injury. The versatile Dutch international played the full 90 minutes, and Simic was thrilled to share her return with her close friend.

The playmaker and De Graaf trained hard together as they fought for their respective returns, and Simic was delighted to share the field with the 22-year-old.



She continued: ““We’ve hugged about 30 times. I think Esmee has constantly been in my arms because we’re both just so happy. 

“We’ve become really close mates because we’ve been together during our recoveries and our rehabs, and our time together in the gym. We’re really happy for each other and seeing Esmee play gives me goose bumps. We’ve worked on our six-packs together and lifted weights together. I’m so happy for her.” 

With West Ham’s last game of 2019 coming on Sunday, away to Bristol City, Simic is targeting even more minutes prior to the side’s festive break. 

She added: “I need to speak to Matt now to find out if I’m in the squad for Sunday! Coming back on Wednesday came a little bit unexpected. I didn’t expect to make a game this year, but he pulled me in his office and asked me if I’m ready. I told him I couldn’t wait. 

“I really appreciate getting these minutes because not every coach would do this or trust me so much. He deserves a lot of credit. I can’t wait for being back on the pitch again.”