Elise Kellond-Knight and Hayley Raso share what it means to be Australian

Representing Australia on the world stage is a privilege that only a few will ever experience. 

When it comes to the Australian national team, that privilege has been earned by only 241 women at A and B international level. 

In wearing the crest, the players that pull on the Westfield Matildas and Socceroos jerseys represent a nation of 25 million people from all corners of the world. 

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What it means to be Australian is deeply personal and informed personal experiences.  

Elise Kellond-Knight is one of the Westfield Matildas most decorated players, pulling on the jersey 113 times at FIFA Women’s World Cups, AFC Women’s Asian Cups and the Olympic Games. 

In her 12 year career at the top, Kellond-Knight has traversed the globe from Japan to Germany, South Korea to Brazil, the United States to Sweden. 

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With a wealth of cultural experiences behind her, the midfielder reflected on what it means to be Australian. 

“To be Australian, you have a sense of pride in your country and your people,” she said.  

We are a nation that is easy going and willing to give everything a crack. I love that about us."

“Australia is one of the most multicultural and accepting countries that I've been in. And I think, again, that relates to being proud that we are accepting, proud that we can all share the beautiful country between us.

“I think that is a really important part of being Australian.”

Currently in Liverpool, Westfield Matilda Hayley Raso has also travelled the globe in pursuit of club and international football. Her journey has taken the forward from Australia to the United States, France and Vietnam, playing in AFC Women's Asian Cups and the FIFA Women's World Cup.  

“My greatest honour and what I am most proud of is being able to represent Australia and the amazing country that we have,” said Raso. 

“It means so much to me being Australian.  We have a welcoming, friendly and diverse culture.”

For both Kellond-Knight and Raso being away has instilled greater appreciation for the nation they call home. 

The past 12 months has meant long periods separated and missing loved ones, but it has also made them miss some of the small things about Australia. 

“A less obvious one is speaking and hearing language with an Aussie accent,” said Kellond-Knight. 

“The Australian accent is so unique and there's different degrees of it too, which is what I've started to learn [being away for so long].” 

“It hits your ears a little bit when you hear it again for the first time, but I miss it so much!”

For Raso who is currently experiencing her first English winter and all the snow that comes with it, it is the beautiful Aussie landscape. 

“When I am overseas, the thing I miss is definitely the weather. It’s absolutely freezing over here in the UK right now so I am missing that sunshine,” Raso laughed.

“I am missing that sunshine, our beautiful beaches and good old Aussie coffee!”