By Alex Stone. Thursday, 28 June 2007.
Faye jetted out to Canada a fortnight ago on a short-term contract with Ottawa Fury to help her return to full match fitness; the goal at the end of endless hours alone in the gym was not only pulling on her club shirt again, but aiming to be named in Hope Powell's final World Cup squad of 21 to travel to Macau, then Shanghai in August.
Faye's first match for her new side was a 3-2 victory against Jersey Sky Blue on 20 June and the side won their next two games at the weekend [4-1 v Toronto Lynx and 3-0 v Rochester Rhinos], part of a seven match unbeaten run.
Speaking to TheFA.com, Faye described her first impressions of her new environment, as well as reflecting on her visit to Buckingham Palace to collect her MBE from the Queen.
"When I first arrived I settled quite quickly as there are two other English internationals here [Rachel Axon and Jodie Taylor]," said Faye. "The pace of the game against Jersey Sky Blue was pretty intense in the first 45 minutes and I found myself catching my breath quite a lot.
"I knew i'd feel a bit rusty but it was exactly the sort of test I needed" added Faye. "We played with three at the back in the first half and then four at the back in the second so I had to keep on my toes, but in the second half I felt far more comfortable."
After a long-term injury, one would imagine that the first crunching 50:50 challenge would be viewed with some trepidation and Faye admitted she was relieved to get one of those under her belt quite quickly.
"There was one ball in the middle of the park inside the first ten minutes and I just went for it. The opposition player was steaming in and once I'd started, I knew I wasn't going to pull out. I came out the other side with the ball and in one piece, and it was certainly one more thing that I mentally checked off on the road to recovery."
Last season, England U23 striker Jodie Taylor was plying her trade at Oregon State University, and in her spell at the Fury, she has been consistently finding the back of the net, including a hat-trick at the weekend.
"Jodie has impressed me, and she's very quick," said Faye. "It would be fair to say that we don't have too many prolific English strikers, and if she keeps training hard and working at her game, she may well have a chance to impress at this summer's Nordic Cup."
Shortly before Faye made her transatlantic move, a visit to Buckingham Palace was in the diary as she collected her MBE from the Queen. "I've been privileged to have a range of different experiences through football but that was something else.
"We arrived at a large ballroom for a briefing at 10am and my Mum, Dad and brother were with me. My fiance was working and arrived later, and when one of the clerks realised, she went out and brought him in too, even though officially we were only allowed three guests, which was a fantastic gesture.
"Then, dead on 11am the Queen arrived, and the staggering thing was that she presented between 90-100 people with their awards, and the ceremony finished like clockwork dead on midday."
Faye revealed that a brief conversation with the Monarch revolved around her playing and occasional commentary duties, and that she wished the team well for the World Cup, telling Faye "Keep up the good work".
"It was a fantastic morning and after the ceremony we were able to take some photos in the grounds. I know when the cricket team won the Ashes they all received honours, so maybe there's another incentive for the squad that goes to China, that if they come back with the trophy, they may get to go to Buckingham Palace too!"
Michael Bradley Photography
Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
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