Having toiled long and hard to get back to her optimum, Reggae Girlz striker Trudi Carter now feels a stronger sense of belonging.
Since injury cost her a possible extension on her contract with Italian giants AS Roma a few years ago, Carter passionately kept the fire burning and fought hard to become fitter and stronger with her mind firmly set on making it back to one of the top leagues in Europe.
Given the many hours she worked hard to improve her craft, Carter believes it was only a matter of time before she accomplished a step towards her goal which came when she was snatched up by Spanish Women's Premier Division team FC Levante Las Planas.
This contract follows an impressive campaign with Lithuanian outfit FC Gintra with whom she scored more than 12 goals and over half-dozen assists.
"This signing means everything to me. I have been working and waiting for so long to get back in the big leagues since recovering from that [knee] injury," Carter told the Jamaica Observer from her base in Spain.
"I was always determined to make it back to one of the top leagues in Europe and so I worked towards it. So now that I am here, I just want to make the most of it and keep building," she added.
While in the midst of improving her overall well-being, and physical performance while also trying to minimise the risk of injuries, Carter, who hails from the tough inner-city south St Andrew community of Arnett Gardens, has maintained a strong relationship with God along the way.
That divine guidance, coupled with the unwavering love and support of her mother Lucille Hamilton, Carter said were the backbone of her journey on what was a difficult road back to her best.
"It was just a matter of time before God brought me back. Only him and my mother knew exactly what my journey has really been like, from me being home in Jamaica and not playing football for two years, and they were the reason I kept going. I am so thankful for every experience, both good and bad, and the opportunities that have come my way since then," Carter shared.
Few will understand why Carter embodies such will, determination, hunger and commitment.
But when the knee injury derailed her progress with AS Roma and almost cost her a spot in the Reggae Girlz World Cup squad in France 2019, she pledged to use the emotionally draining event as a motivational springboard for her pursuits.
"I definitely believe that everything I am achieving now is basically me making up for what I lost back then because who knows what would have happened if I didn't get injured. But I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, as I'm back to where I belong and I'm very happy," she said.
"So, like I said, I'm just aiming to make the most of this and build from here, score some goals and just put my best foot forward at all times to assist the club to stay in the first division," Carter noted.
Already the 27-year-old has delivered on her intent, scoring on debut in her team's 4-0 beating of Real Union in the Queens Cup recently.
"I'm enjoying the environment a lot so far. I always wanted to play in La Liga F, so I knew before I came here that I would love it here. My teammates and the coaching staff have been very welcoming so I thrived on that and got my first goal to signal that I'm ready to meet the demands," Carter declared.
That said, Carter believes playing in a highly competitive environment is also critical in her preparations to strut her stuff for Jamaica at next year's Fifa Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
"I'm looking forward to having a healthy and wonderful season here at Levante Las Planas, which will assist me a lot in terms of my readiness for the World Cup next year," she ended.