‘Privilege’: Matildas icon’s career call

Australian 2024 Paris Olympic Games ASICS Uniform Launch
Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams is retiring from international football after the Olympics. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Veteran Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams has been lauded for the “indelible legacy” she will leave on Australian football after announcing she will retire from international football following the Paris Olympics.

Just the second Indigenous footballer to make 100 international appearances, Williams will bring down the curtain on a storeyed international career that began on July 28, 2005 and has spanned 103 matches for the Matildas.

“It has been an absolute honour and privilege to represent my country, my heritage, my sport, my family, and many teammates over the past 19 years,” she said.

Matilda's Presser
Lydia Williams, an Australian football legend. Picture: Richard Dobson

“Playing for the CommBank Matildas across FIFA Women’s World Cups, Olympics and Asian Cups has provided me with memories and friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

“I started in this team as a teenager from Canberra and across almost two decades I never imagine that I would be afforded the opportunity to learn, grow, experience life’s challenges and joys, fight against injustices and be shaped into the person I am today.

“I would like to thank all those who have cared for me and supported me all these years; from my family, to close friends, the head coaches, goalkeeping coaches, team managers, my incredible teammates, and the CommBank Matildas fans.

“This team is truly special, and I am proud of what it stands for, what it represents for a whole generation of women and girls. It’s just getting started and I can’t wait to cheer on the team from the sidelines when the next chapter of my life begins.”

Williams is one of only two footballers to represent Australia at senior FIFA tournaments on five occasions (2007, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2023). The CommBank Matildas veteran has also donned the gloves at six AFC Women’s Asian Cups (2006, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022) and two Olympic Games, with Paris set to be her swan song.

She made history as the first Australian female goalkeeper and only the second Indigenous footballer after Kyah Simon to surpass 100 international caps.

Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said Williams left an “indelible legacy” on Australian football.

“Lydia’s remarkable career has significantly shaped women’s football in Australia, blending exceptional skill with a passion for progress in the sport. She leaves an indelible legacy that will inspire future generations of indigenous and non-indigenous backgrounds.

“It has not only been through her efforts between the posts, with goal-saving dives and vibrant leadership on the pitch, but also in her passion to make the sport better through her role as vice-president of the Professional Footballers Australia.”

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

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


• x5 senior FIFA World Cups (China 2007, Germany 2011, Canada 2015, France 2019, Australia & New Zealand 2023)

• 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup

• x6 AFC Women’s Asian Cups

• x2 Olympic Games (Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020)

• First female Australian goalkeeper to make 100 international appearances

• Second Indigenous football to make 100 international appearances