Matildas go for glory

The Matildas kicked-off their World Cup campaign against Ireland on Thursday and ten former NSW public school students were in the squad.

NSW public students are cheering on the Matildas at the 2023 World Cup.

Annette van Egmond will be pitch-side cheering on daughter Emily when she appears in her fourth World Cup with the Matildas from Thursday.

Ms van Egmond is principal of Glendore Public School in Newcastle’s western suburbs and said it was a proud moment for the whole van Egmond family.

The Matildas kicked-off their 2023 World Cup campaign with a 1-nil victory over Ireland at Stadium Australia in Sydney.

“She’s physically and mentally ready. It’s her fourth World Cup so she knows what she needs to do in preparation,” Mrs van Egmond said.

“The whole team is well prepared. You’d love to be super confident and say they can go all the way, and with the home crowd, anything’s possible.”

Ten NSW public school alumni have made the 23-woman squad for the marquee event, including van Egmond.

Westfields Sports High leads the way with four selections - Alanna Kennedy, Ellie Carpenter, Kyra Cooney-Cross and Courtney Nevin. The Hills Sports High has Kyah Simon, Hunter Sports High has Clare Wheeler and Illawarra Sports High Caitlin Foord.

Mary Fowler (Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts) and Clare Hunt (Henry Lawson High School, Grenfell) took less traditional pathways, as did van Egmond (Warners Bay and Whitebridge high schools).

Fowler led her school to the 2018 Combined High School’s championship and her former teachers say she was just as inspired in the classroom.

Visual arts teacher Erika Mayer hopes Fowler continues to exercise her imagination on the pitch.

“Imagination is a 21st century skill and Mary loved art and joyfully persevered at difficult moments, when other students might give up,” Mayer said.

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) teachers Michelle Carney, Erika Lampe and Fleur Williams loved her soccer skills, but also her commitment to her studies.

“She was always so determined, both in the classroom and on the field,” Ms Williams said.

“She was a positive role model for all students. She was highly academic, a quiet achiever. She worked really hard to complete her assignments to a high standard.”

Matildas fixtures

  • Australia v Republic of Ireland (20 July) - 1-nil win
  • Australia v Nigeria (27 July) - KO 8PM
  • Australia v Canada (31 July) - KO 8PM
The Matildas kick off their World Cup campaign tonight. Teachers at Wollongong High wish former student Mary Fowler luck.
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