Pioneering 1975 Australia women’s team recognised as ‘First Matildas’

A group photo of the 'First Matildas', Australia's first women's football team in 1975.
Australia women's team 1975. Photo credit: Football Australia.

Football Australia has worked hard to finally acknowledge a huge part of the country’s sporting history after ‘comprehensive review’. Players who featured in a 1975 women’s side have been acknowledged as the ‘First Matildas’ in landmark decision. The team took part in the Asian Football Confederation tournament in Hong Kong.

A group headed by Anter Isaac, the Chairman of Football Australia, made the ruling after taking multiple factors into consideration. The criteria included official record taking of the competition, player eligibility and competing against other recognised countries. The uniformed kits used were also factored in.

The now immortalised players wore the classic gold and green Australia colours. The men’s team would have worn similar kits at that time. They also found all the players were eligible to represent Australia, according to modern footballing laws.

“This recognition is long overdue and a testament to the pioneering spirit of the women who paved the way for future generations of female footballers in Australia,” Isaac said. “The 1975 team’s achievements laid the foundation for the development and success of women’s football in our country, and it is our honour to formally acknowledge their contributions.”

The legacy of the 1975 team: Who were the First Matildas?

Isaac stressed that the ‘robust set of criteria’ ensures the history of Australian football is ‘accurately and fairly represented’.

“The recognition of the 1975 team as the ‘First Matildas’ reflects our commitment to celebrating and preserving the legacy of all those who have played a pivotal role in our sport.”

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 01: Samantha Kerr of Australia poses for photos at HBF Park at HBF Park. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Football Australia is presenting each of the ‘First Matildas’ with a traditional international cap but with a twist. The caps will have the number zero on them to signify the roles played in the founding of history.

“I am deeply honoured and thrilled by Football Australia’s decision to recognise our 1975 team,” 1975 captain Pat O’Connor said.

“This acknowledgment and recognition as the ‘First Matildas’ not only celebrate our efforts and dedication but also cements our place in Australian football history as the pioneers of the women’s game. It is a moment of immense pride for all of us, and I am grateful for the recognition of our contributions to the sport we love.”

The following individuals will be celebrated alongside O’Connor. Christel Abenthum, Sue Binns, Kim Coates, Lynn Everett Miller, Julie Dolan, Cindy Heydon, Trudy Fischer, Vickie Kohen, Lynn McKenzie, Sue Larsen, Aunty Tarita Yvonne Peters – know as Stacey Tracy, Connie Selby, Trixie Tagg, Sue Taylor, Gundega Zarins and coach Joe O’Connor.

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