Keeping the dream alive: Williams looks to inspire next generation
With three World Cups already under her belt, and a fourth about to start, Westfield Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams has been there, done that and bought the T-shirt as far as women’s football is concerned.
But she still has one overriding ambition – to pass on her knowledge and love for the game to the next generation of players coming through.
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Recently turned 31, Williams has won the Westfield W-League Championship (2012) and Premierships (2011/12 and 2013/14) with Canberra United, as well as the AFC Women’s Championship (2008) and AFC Women’s Asian Cup (2010) with Australia.
Currently playing for Reign FC in the USA’s National Women’s Soccer League, she was voted the Westfield W-League’s Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016/17 and has amassed 77 caps for the Westfield Matildas.
It’s an impressive haul, and Williams – born in Kattaning in country Western Australia to a father of Aboriginal descent – hopes her experiences and journey in the game as it has come of age in recent years can inspire those dreaming of following in her footsteps.
“It’s crazy. I wouldn’t have thought about this in 2007 – that this would be my fourth [World Cup],” she said after training at the team’s pre-World Cup training camp in Antalya, Turkey. “I’m definitely glad to be here.
Women’s football has come a long way. In the last two years it’s developed in a way that no one saw coming.
“But the experiences from my previous World Cups – with people like [Australian women's football legends] Alicia Ferguson, Cheryl Salisbury, Di Alagich – to the youth and talent we have [who are now] growing up to [be] mature players. It’s definitely going to help our road leading into this campaign."
“For me, when I first started, I’ve always had the idea that I want to leave the game better than when I first came in. It’s [about] leaving my mark, in whatever way, shape and form that’s possible.
“Hopefully inspiring the younger generations – whether that’s goalkeepers, or players, or Indigenous people to come and play the game.
“That’s my biggest goal. I’m happy to share my knowledge.”
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FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ – Group C – Australia Matches
Australia v Italy
Date: Sunday, 9 June 2019 (AEST)
Venue: Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes
Kick-off: 9.00pm AEST (1.00pm local time, same day)
Australia v Brazil
Date: Friday, 14 June 2019 (AEST)
Venue: Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier
Kick-off: 2.00am AEST (6.00pm local time, Thursday 13 June)
Jamaica v Australia
Date: Wednesday, 19 June 2019 (AEST)
Venue: Stade des Alpes, Grenoble
Kick-off: 5.00am AEST (9.00pm local time, Tuesday 18 June)