Ireland's Chloe Mustaki has claimed that even though she didn't play a minute in the Women's World Cup last summer, it was still an "amazing" experience because of what she has had to endure during her career.
The 31-year-old is entering the prime years of her career, but for a long time, there were other factors that got in Mustaki's goal of becoming an Ireland player. A Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis and an anterior cruciate ligament injury shortly after meant that the Ohio native has had to come through the ringer for her Ireland chance.
Thankfully, the 28-year-old has overcome her issues and managed to make Ireland's World Cup 23 despite the challenges she faced in the early parts of her career.
Speaking on her World Cup inclusion, the Bristol City player admits that she would have liked to see more game time under former manager Vera Pauw but also claimed that being there and part of the Ireland camp was a "privilege" for her.
"The World Cup was an interesting experience because I was out from December to the beginning of April, so to even make it to the World Cup was a miracle,"she said.
👕 𝐖𝐎𝐑𝐋𝐃 𝐂𝐔𝐏 𝐉𝐄𝐑𝐒𝐄𝐘𝐒 ☘ — Off The Ball (@offtheball) June 29, 2023
⚽ Katie McCabe, Chloe Mustaki & Izzy Atkinson are among the Ireland players being presented with their #FIFAWWC jerseys by manager Vera Pauw today | ⭐
📹 @kathleen_mcn pic.twitter.com/hi10ZZq7JI
👕 𝐖𝐎𝐑𝐋𝐃 𝐂𝐔𝐏 𝐉𝐄𝐑𝐒𝐄𝐘𝐒 ☘
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) June 29, 2023
"A lot of girls missed out. So, was it frustrating to not get a single minute at the World Cup? Yeah, of course. But the fact I was there in the first place was amazing.
"The way I look at it was that I was happy I made it; yes, it was disappointing (not to get game-time), but all things considered, the fact I made it there was great, I was privileged to make it. And I don’t know how I did that (considering the injury)."
A part-time recruitment specialist based in Dublin, Mustaki has only recently committed to playing football full-time. A former Shelbourne Ladies player, she now plies her trade in the WSL (Women s Super League) with newly promoted Bristol City.
Despite having security in her job and being surrounded by supportive work colleagues, the Ireland player admitted that she didn't want to wonder what might have been if she didn't take up her chance with Bristol. She had other offers in women's football, but Bristol was the first choice.
“I didn’t want to have any regrets and [thought] I might as well try and see where it takes me. I then signed for Bristol City and fate meant we won the League, and we ended up in the WSL, which is great.
“Life can be difficult at times, and you can be unlucky… I had different options in the Championship, and I chose to go with Bristol, and we got promoted, "she added.