On Saturday international football will be brought to the western suburbs of Sydney. It’s a big one. The Matildas take on Brazil. Yes it is a friendly, but this excited 23 year old has tickets and is super stoked to go to her first international game of football. Not only do I get to see the likes of Sam Kerr, Katrina Gorry, Lisa De Vanna and co tear up the field, Australia taking on Brazil means another thing. I get to see my football hero Marta. So instead of writing a pre-game report on the game, grab a cup of tea and keep reading as I gush over my opportunity to see Marta play live.
(Hey if you want a pre-game report I’m sure The Womens Game will have a brilliant piece, plus some mainstream media might actually have a couple pieces too)
One of my first memories of watching professional women’s football was the 2007 World Cup in China. I watched these matches on SBS, with (by today’s standards) a small (crappy) tele, at times again not suitable for Australians. Thirteen year old me, living in the middle of whoop whoop south west NSW, was finally fully exposed to the beautiful world of possibilities this is women’s football. At this time I knew very little. I knew I was backing Australia (because duh), that Cheryl Salisbury was our captain and a killer centre back, also that there were so many teams and players I now needed to learn about. I quickly learnt about Marta.
For some history, this World Cup was the first Australia qualified beyond the group stage. However it was at this stage, the quarter finals, they faced Brazil. Despite a hard fought game, the Matildas lost 3-2. But this isn’t a history lesson on the Matildas hard luck at World Cups. No this is about Marta. And it was this game I first got to witness her brilliance. A Marta led Brazil team ended up being defeated by the ever organised Germany in the grand final (shout out to their goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, who stopped Marta from scoring on numerous occasions in this game).
I had never seen a player influence a field quite as much as Marta did at this World Cup, even after a copious amount of men’s football consumed. Watching Marta was mesmerising. I was so stoked to finally have a footballer to look up to, aspire to play like and who was also a female like me! I was excited I remember even using the guise of a school assignment to “research” and write about my new football hero.
In the years to follow Marta would win FIFA World Player of the Year awards (she now has 5… FIVE). The Matildas would also face Brazil in some gruelling games over this time, many that would end up in Aussie heartbreak. My only consultation during these games were I got to watch Marta play. Even in the worst of circumstances (aka last years Olympic gut wrenching lose) I still can’t help but find some happiness just by watching her play.
My dad use to tell me about great players, such as George Best, Bobby Charlton, Pele, Madona and the players they were.
Marta is my great player.
She is the player I’ll one day be boasting about to my kids that I got to watch whilst growing up.
So really the opportunity to watch my all time favourite player and footballing hero in the flesh was a no brainer. Even my limited financial resources could not deter me! Because really, the reason I’m travelling to Sydney in the middle of my uni semester isn’t to watch the Matildas live, I’ll have other chances. It is for the chance to watch Marta.
Yes I will be backing the Matildas and hope they thrash the Brazilians like they did so recently in the US. But if Marta does score a goal, or simply dazzles and frustrates our defence, you won’t hear any complaints from me. (I might even do a fist pump celebration if there is a goal).
I GET TO SEE MARTA!!!!!!