Matildas Milestones: 100 games for Emily van Egmond
Emily van Egmond etched her name into the Australian football history books, becoming the eighth woman to earn 100 caps for her country.
Her love for football began at a young age. Her parents, Annette and Gary, tell the story of her earliest moment in football.
“I think the earliest memory is the day she started playing. I don't know whether Gary's told you the story or not. And her twin brother Max was actually registered to play in the local under 5s-6s soccer team at Baulkham Hills, and he was having an issue with the colour of the socks and he didn't want to wear the socks. So we had a bit of a tantrum happening.” Annette explained.
Emily went down and wore the uniform instead and enjoyed the day. An athletic kid, van Egmond took to most sports she tried like a duck to water but she was hooked to football immediately.
Playing in the backyard and the house and watching the game on TV became a normal part of life.
“I remember one World Cup year where she'd organised for the bed to be put out into the lounge room, of which then between myself and her, we both got to pick each every single game. And we watched the entire World Cup together.” Gary recalled.
While her national team career began in March 2010 at the age of 16, she could have debuted a year earlier. However an ankle injury kept her out of contention.
Lauren Colthorpe, cap #139, remembers the first time she met van Egmond and the incident that caused the ankle injury.
“I remember her, first meeting this kid and she was doing so well. I think she was 15 years old and just came in and it was like she'd been there for years. And she was training amazingly.”
“Then I went in maybe studs up I can't remember and I broke her ankle. I didn't realise at the time I just kept training and found out a bit later and I remember I felt horrible but Em's personality was just like she wouldn't even let me apologise. I think she's like, no, that's part of the game. That's what happens she even said like she'd be disappointed if I went in any softer.” Colthorpe said.
Aside from the injury, Colthorpe is full of praise for van Egmond, who impressed even at 15.
“She's probably one of my favourite players to ever play with just one of those players you want on your team. She never gives up she’s just a really intelligent footballer, she reads the game really well. Just easy to play with. I remember playing in the middle of the park with her and I'm really just kind of always in sync.”
It isn’t just former teammates who speak glowingly of the centurion but current ones like Sam Kerr. The pair have played together for years and basically grown up together in green and gold.
“I think we got along straightaway. I think what we see in the national team is much different to what people see on the field. On the field, she's very serious and strong and tough and a bit of a warrior, but off the field to us, she's a bit of a jokester, loves to have a laugh, always mucking about maybe too much, but I'm normally there with her.” Kerr said.
“To see how much she's grown and the player she's become and she stayed the same person the whole time. But it's an amazing achievement to get to 100 games for your country, not many people do it. So it's something she should be really proud of, and something we're really proud of as a team to get another player there.”