Lydia Williams to retire from Matildas after Paris Olympics

Lydia Williams thanks fans following the International Friendly match between the Australia Matildas and Brazil at CommBank Stadium on October 26, 2021
Lydia Williams thanks fans following the International Friendly match between the Australia Matildas and Brazil at CommBank Stadium on October 26, 2021 (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Australian icon Lydia Williams has announced she will retire from international football after a 19 year career with the Matildas.

The goalkeeper has earned 103 caps for her country and will hang up her international gloves after this summer’s Olympic Games. Her debut came against South Korea back in 2005 when she was just 15 years old.

From there, Williams went on to represent Australia at five FIFA Women’s World Cups. Her first was in 2007 but she did not feature. In 2011, Williams made her World Cup debut in a 3-2 win against Equatorial Guinea, as Melissa Barbieri took the starting job.

In 2015, Williams usurped Barbieri as Australia’s No.1 after the first group stage game. With her help, the Matildas reached the quarter-finals in Canada. She was also first choice in France in 2019, as Australia lost on penalties to Norway in the last 16.

The 2023 tournament saw Williams consigned to the bench as Mackenzie Arnold started every game during the Matildas’ run to a fourth-place finish on home soil.

Williams was part of the Australia squad that won the 2010 AFC Asian Cup, but again had to contend with a place on the bench as they beat North Korea on penalties in the final.

A two-time Olympian, she represented her country at the 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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Club level career

Domestically, Williams’ career has taken her around the world. Starting in her native Australia, she won the W-League (now Liberty A-League Women) Championship with Canberra United in 2011/12, and two Premierships in 2011/12 and 2013/14.

Stints in the United States, Sweden, France and England have seen Williams become a household name.

Speaking on her decision to call time on her international career, she told Australian TV she was ‘at peace’ and felt ‘extremely lucky’. She has stressed that she is ‘excited’ to start her next journey.

The Women’s Football Tournament at the Paris Olympics gets underway on 25th July. Australia will take on Germany, Zambia and the United States in the group stages.

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