Lydia Williams is saving goals at the World Cup
The FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 begins today (7 June) with Australia’s team, the Matildas, facing off against Italy on Sunday.
Positioned in the goals for Australia and playing in her fourth Women’s World Cup will be Lydia Williams, one of 2 Indigenous players in the team.
Lydia is originally from Western Australia and moved to Canberra when she was 11 years old.
In her early years she played AFL, basketball, soccer and participated in Little Athletics, but at age 14 decided to focus on soccer. She started out with the Tuggeranong Rosellas in Canberra, initially playing each position on the field before finding her place in goals.
Any player who reaches the world stage in sport needs great support and for Lydia it came from her parents. She also credits her success to the support of her junior goalkeeping coach, her Rosellas coach who got her into ACT representative teams and Tom Sermanni (previous Matildas coach) who got her into the national team.
Lydia said she drew her inspiration from a famous former Olympian.
‘For actually representing my country, it would have been Cathy Freeman,’ Lydia said.
‘But in terms of goalkeepers, it was Peter Schmeichel. (Manchester United and Danish International goalkeeper)’
Lydia said representing her country at the World Cup was amazing.
‘I love playing for my country and getting to do it on such an amazing stage with amazing players as well, is humbling,’ Lydia said.
Lydia is also excited to represent the Indigenous community and hopes to see more Indigenous people playing the game and at the highest levels in the future.
Lydia said that she is feeling a little nervous in the lead up to the first game in the city of Valenciennes in Northern France but her dominant emotion is excitement.
Australia is bidding for the next women’s world cup in 2023 but, at age 31 and having sustained many significant injuries over her long goalkeeping career, Lydia is unsure of making a 5th world cup appearance.
‘We’ll see. Obviously I will have to look after the body and everything but I wouldn’t want to rule it out as a possibility.’
Australia’s participation in the 2019 Women’s World Cup serves to increase the profile of women’s soccer in Australia, something Lydia is pleased to see.
‘With that kind of high profile, there’s a lot more pressure on us. But that’s part of the game when you become more and more well known. It’s amazing to see how much the game has evolved in Australia.
You can watch Lydia and her teammates play in each of their matches on SBS. For details, see the SBS viewing guide.