It's been a dark journey, but crocked Matildas star Kyah Simon can see the light at the end of her injury recovery tunnel.
The forward's World Cup dream goes on the line next month when she makes her return from ankle surgery, which has kept her sidelined since January.
Simon flies to the United States on April 9 ahead of making her return to action in the NWSL with Houston Dash.
It means the 27-year-old misses out on Australia's friendly against world champions the United States in Colorado next week, but Simon remains confident she can prove her fitness to earn a spot in Ante Milicic's squad for the World Cup starting in June in France.
"It's probably been my hardest rehab that I've ever had to go through," Simon told AAP. "Just a really stressful situation with having a timeframe on my rehab.
"I've had some down days and mentally some tough days.
"I think, knowing my goal, and that's to be in the best condition that I can be in leading into France ... that's keeping me focused and determined on the task at hand."
While the Matildas are in the U.S. preparing for next week's friendly, Simon was in Sydney on Sunday welcoming the World Cup trophy to the country during a global tour ahead of this year's tournament.
Simon's proximity to the prize Australia aim to claim was a timely reminder in her quest to be on the plane to France.
"It reminds you how close the World Cup actually is," Simon said. "A little bit daunting at the same time, having not played a game yet.
"It's made me more excited, more determined and really looking forward to getting over to Houston, getting my football boots back on, getting back into team training because rehab is quite isolating and lonely."