FOR a player who some believe is entering the back-end of her career, Tiffany Cameron appears to be turning back the clock.
The 30-year-old Jamaican footballer, who had her fair share of ups and downs in her debut season with Hungarian top-flight ETO FC Gyor, did well to overcome those challenges — including injuries — and at times was the shining light for her club.
In fact, such was Cameron's flourish that her performances not only earned praises from teammates but also from the Hungarian federation, as she was named 2021-22 Player of the Year.
The Canadian-born winger tallied 23 goals and 10 assist in 28 games for Gyor in that season, following up on her successful campaign with previous club Ferencvarosi Torna where she won the Simple Women's League title and Hungarian Cup.
Cameron, who turns 31 in a few weeks, believes these accolades show she still has plenty left in the tank and also reinforces her commitment to giving of her best for club and country at all times.
"Being named Player of the Year at this point in my career is a reminder that age is nothing but a number," she told the Jamaica Observer from her base in the central European country.
"I've found, as each year has passed, that my mind and body has gotten stronger. The most important lesson of my football journey thus far has been learning how to stay in tune with my mind, body and soul so that I can achieve top performances.
"Last year was the best year I've had for both club and country and I'm excited to be able to compete for a roster spot to the World Cup next year," the Reggae Girlz winger added, alluding to next year's Fifa Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Cameron's abundance of talent and capability to change games on a regular basis, at the very highest level, saw her previously plying her trade for Borussia Mönchengladbach and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in the German Bundesliga, FC Ramat HaSharon in the Israeli First League, as well as Seattle Reign FC and FC Kansas City in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL).
She has also played for Apolon Limassol in the Cypriot First Division and Norwegian club Stabaek.
For Cameron, those experiences have contributed to her ability to put a positive spin on even the most unfortunate situation, which had ultimately led to her current success in a highly competitive environment.
"I think a lot of people underestimate where I am playing. In the past I've played in the top leagues of America, Germany, Sweden and Norway, so I know when I am surrounded by quality players.
"Coming to Hungary I have been blessed with playing for two of the best teams in the league. Being in a training environment where I am challenged every day has truly contributed to my success since my move here," Cameron, who also represented Canada in a friendly international, stated.
"In the beginning of last season I got injured and was out for six weeks. During this time I told myself that I had to make up for the time I lost and give everything I could to come back stronger. It's never easy coming back from an injury as it requires a lot of patience and discipline to do so, and I'm happy I was able to walk with grace and accomplish what I did last season," she noted.
Cameron's form at club level has also been replicated at international level as she has so far tallied over 10 goals for Jamaica from just under 30 caps — and that has heightened expectations that she can be a key figure for the Reggae Girlz.
Still, with the competition for a spot in Lorne Donaldson's final squad to the World Cup being fierce, Cameron, who was a part of the 2019 World Cup squad in France, is hoping to extend her rich vein of form with another stellar campaign for Gyor, and possibly in the international windows.
"Winning this award was a reminder how impactful I can be on the field when I am trusted by my staff and teammates. I am aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and at the end of the day an environment can make or break a person.
"If I am surrounded by people who believe in me, want to help me grow, and have overall good intentions, it makes it easier for me to shine and be the best version of myself," the bubbly personality, who also dabbles in music, said.
"So my goals are to help my team win their first-ever Hungarian League Championship, score more league goals than I did last year, and also to be on the plane to Australia/New Zealand for the World Cup next year," Cameron ended.