Matildas keeper Lydia Williams to hang up gloves after Paris Olympic Games

Georgina Noack
The Nightly
4 Min Read
Lydia Williams’ last games in green and gold for the Matildas will come at the Paris Olympics after the goalkeeper announced her international retirement.
Lydia Williams’ last games in green and gold for the Matildas will come at the Paris Olympics after the goalkeeper announced her international retirement. Credit: Bianca De Marchi/AAP

Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams has announced she’ll hang up the gloves at international level after the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Currently with 103 senior caps to her name, Australian football’s longest-serving player will bring an end to her distinguished career in green and gold hoping to win a first Olympic medal later this year.

The 35-year-old Melbourne FC shot stopper, who has played at five World Cups and was part of the Tillies ’2010 Asian Cup title triumph, made her announcement on social media on Thursday night.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

“It’s been a wonderful ride over the last 19 years and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to not only wear the crest and perform for my country, but also to the wonderful memories and fantastic people that I’ve met along the way,” Williams said.

“I love the team and I love the girls and I’m gonna miss them so much and I just hope that the level of support and love shown to the Matildas and to each and every single player continues.

“All good things come to an end but I’m excited to start my next journey.”

Social media was awash with messages and tributes from fans, teammates and opponents alike thanking the football “legend” for her contribution to the Matildas squad.

CommBank Matildas Head Coach Tony Gustavsson, who guided the squad through their historic run at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, thanked Williams for granting him the “privilege” of being a small part in her “stellar career”.

“Lydia truly represents what the CommBank Matildas are all about. Incredible on-field talent mixed with authenticity, warmth, and a desire to leave the game better than she found it,” he said, adding: “Lydia has done all of that and then some more.”+

“To be able to play the game at the highest level for close to two decades takes significant commitment, passion and focus to always get one day better.

“Just as importantly, Lydia makes others around her better as she willingly and generously shares her experience and knowledge for the benefit of the team.”

Lydia Williams of the Australian Women's Soccer team in action during Game 2 of the Women's International Friendly soccer match between Australia and Canada at Allianz Stadium. Finals score: Canada 2:1 Australia. (Photo by Luis Veniegra / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Williams will farewell the international football stage after a 19-year career as a Matilda. Credit: Luis Veniegra / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

Williams seemed to take a moment to farewell the international stage after the Matildas’ heartbreaking loss to Sweden in the Women’s World Cup.

Although she did not see a minute of action as her protege Mackenzie Arnold took centre stage in the tournament, the veteran keeper was photographed sitting against the goal post at the end of the third-place play-off.

She was visibly emotional as she looked over a World Cup pitch for what would be the last time

Chief executive of the national body James Johnson said Williams will leave an “indelible legacy” on Australian football, especially the women’s game, that will inspire people of all backgrounds for generations to come.

“Lydia’s remarkable career has significantly shaped women’s football in Australia, blending exceptional skill with a passion for progress in the sport,” he said.

Mr Johnson applauded Williams’ for her efforts and “vibrant leadership” on the pitch as well as for her “passion to make the sport better” off it, as vice president of the players’ union, Professional Footballers Australia, too.

“Lydia’s CommBank Matildas’ career is truly iconic spanning continents and playing generations,” he continued.

“She has given so much to this team and to Australian football and will be long remembered as a legend of the modern game. She has influenced the women’s game in a way that will be felt for generations to come.”

Lydia Williams.
Williams is one of two Indigenous players to reach 100 international caps, and the only goalkeeper to cross the milestone. Credit: Diego Fedele/AAP

Football Australia is set to honour Williams at an upcoming fixture against China PR at Accor Stadium in Sydney on June 3.

Throughout her professional career, Williams has played in Australia, America and Europe — and was regarded as one of the world’s leading stoppers — and is now back playing for Melbourne victory in A-League Women.

She made her international debut at age 15, and is one of only two Indigenous Australians, along with Kyah Simon, to earn 100 Matildas caps. She is the only goalkeeper in Matildas history to reach that milestone.

The proud Noongar woman is one of two Australians — Clare Polkinghorne is the other — to don the green and gold at five senior FIFA World Cup tournaments (in 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019, and 2023).

The goal-stopping veteran has also donned the gloves at six AFC Women’s Asian Cups (2006, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022) and two of the Matildas’ five Olympic Games appearances (2016 and 2020), with Paris, her third Games, set to be her swan song.

The CommBank Matildas have been drawn in Group B with the world No. 4 United States, world No.5 Germany and Zambia. They will play their group stage matches in Marseille and Nice and open their campaign against the Europeans on July 25.

— With AAP

Latest Edition

The front page of The Nightly for 21-05-2024

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 21 May 202421 May 2024

The PM, the terrorist and the A-list barrister demanding war crimes charges.