Former captain Julie Murray joins Sports Stars Sleepout for homeless youth

Former Westfield Matildas captain Julie Murray is joining a group of Australia’s sports stars to sleep out on the Sydney Cricket Ground on 3 August to raise money for homeless youth.  

As a 17-year-old, Julie Murray's worries were mainy those of a typical teenager; school, family and friends and sport.  However, unlike a typical 17-year-old, she also had worries and stresses about preparing to represent her country on the international stage.  

For Murray commencing her international career at a young age was all possible due to the support she received from her family. 

"I was very fortunate to have an incredibly supportive family," Murray said. 

"Obviously they continue that support today. All my friends, inside and outside of football, are exactly the same."

To get to where I could represent my country as a teenager, I was very, very fortunate to have such an environment growing up where I knew that I could do anything." 

Due to that family support, Julie Murray went on to represent Australia on 68 occasions between 1986 and 2000.

Murray in action
Murray in action for Westfield Matildas (Photo: Getty Images)

Today, Murray is a mother of two boys and is aware that not all teens are as fortunate as the former Westfield Matilda. 

It is one of the reasons that Murray is joining more than 30 elite sports people, including Olympics swimming gold medallist Bronte Campbell and Paralympics great Louise Sauvage, in volunteering for the SCG Sports Stars Sleepout for homeless youth.

"I was probably a little bit naive to being aware of how many homeless youth there are, let alone just homeless people in Australia," she stated.  

"It resonated with me because I have two children of my own. I just thought if there was one thing that I could do to raise awareness for youth who don't have homes and the support I did, then we can tackle this as a social issue right across Australia."  

Organised by The Chappell Foundation, and supported by the Australian Olympic Committee, the SCG Sports Stars Sleepout raises funds to support the estimated 43,000 young Australians who were homeless pre pandemic.  

"The main thing that I would like to get out is awareness that this exists and it's unacceptable in an environment or a country like Australia."

It's a social imperative that people who are high profile like athletes, movie stars or artists use their platforms where you've got hundreds, or even hundreds of thousands of people that are listening to you."

"If you're sending out positive messages and behaving in positive ways, it hopefully encourages others to take positive actions as well."

One of the positive actions is supporting Murray through her athlete profile at the Sports Stars Sleepout

"What we are doing is not going to come anywhere near close to what it would be like for homeless youth.  However, it's just a very, very small gesture that could have a profound impact regarding awareness."

It has been twenty years since Julie Murray last pulled on the green and gold jersey, but she is still working to use her profile to impact the lives of a generation of teenagers. 

Teen Julie
A teenage Julie Murray (Photo: Supplied)

In football, her foundating building impact is evident through a generation of teenagers coming through the Westfield Matildas.  

A number of them are part of the Future Matildas program which re-commenced training this week. The goal for Future Matildas players is the shiny prize of a home FIFA Women's World Cup in 2023.  

For Murray, who captained the Westfield Matildas at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup, she will be proudly watching a moment that her generation helped make happen. 

"I believe it'll set a precedent going forward for women's sport, let alone women's football," she said. 

It would be amazing to be watching the tournament at home and being proud is probably an understatement."

"I remember walking out in the 2000 Olympics at home, and there was just no words that could describe the feeling. I'd imagine that the same sort of feeling for the Matildas involved and I can't wait to take the boys and my family there."