Kyra Cooney-Cross Reflects On The Matildas’ Impact On Women’s Football: ‘We’re Really Proud’

Matildas midfielder Kyra Cooney-Cross has revealed what was happening behind the scenes during the 2023 World Cup, saying the team was “blindsided” about the sudden — and monumental — support from Australia.

As someone who grew up around football (AKA soccer), it was a surreal moment watching everyone fall in love with the Matildas during the WWC. I remember working the night shift during the night of the France Vs Australia match which ended in the most nail-biting penalty shootout in football history.

My heart rate was pumping, the asthma puffer was almost empty and my dad was clutching his angina medicine.

And once Courtnee Vine‘s ball hit the back of the net, the whole of Australia instantaneously got Matildas fever.

Although the team placed fourth overall in the tournament, the country’s love for the Tillies has continued to grow strong.

Looking back on the 2023 Women’s World Cup, Matildas footballer Kyra Cooney-Cross has opened up about the team’s rise to fame, revealing that she was kinda blindsided (in the best way possible OFC) by the amount of support the Tillies got.

“Obviously, after the World Cup and during the World Cup, the whole nation got around us. We’re really proud and it’s exciting to see because now we’ve sold out I think it’s 14 consecutive — 14 consecutive sellouts in stadiums. So yeah, it’s so exciting,” the 22-year-old footballer revealed.

“Now young boys and men are watching us now and they’re calling the Socceroos the Tillies now, I think, so I think it’s changing.”

While laughing at the Tillies vs Socceroos mix-ups made by the football punters, Cooney-Cross also added that it’s extremely interesting to see how much impact the Women’s World Cup made on young boys who want to get into football.

“Young boys saying ‘I want to be like a Matilda’ when it used to be ‘I want to be a Socceroo’. It’s changing so much and it’s exciting,” Cooney-Cross added.

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Matildas star Kyra Cooney-Cross thrives under pressure

Look, as a normie, I can’t speak for everyone when I say this. But a sudden rise to popularity — especially in the sporting field — sounds like a shit tonne of pressure.

You have to deal with the pressure to perform, the pressure from your teammates and coaches, the fans and of course the haters.

Although the thought of that would make me spiral, it’s no sweat off Cooney-Cross’ back, telling PTV that it’s something she “definitely thrives” on.

“I think we all think pressure is a privilege. Like we absolutely love it. We love playing [with] it,” the Tillies star shared.

“We love playing against teams like England. For example, when we played Canada, and it was kind of a do-or-die game we just came out and smashed it. Just because like you know we had that pressure and we want that, we crave that and we do so well.”

(Image source: Supplied)

Cooney-Cross has joined the female-focused supplements brand Athena Sports Nutrition as an ambassador, alongside other sporting icons like Queensland Firebirds netballer Kim Ravaillion and WNBL Sydney Flames player Emma Clarke.

“As female athletes, we face battles, both on and off the field to keep our body at optimum performance level. After learning about the new range and that it was 100 per cent dedicated to athletic women, I was totally on board,” Cooney-Cross shared, reflecting on her decision to partner with the sports nutrition brand.

“It’s a great brand that is doing amazing things for women.”

(Image source: Supplied)

Although the Matildas are continuing to change women’s sports history, the Arsenal young gun admits that more needs to be done for women’s sports in general.

“We don’t have the facilities, obviously, the money as well. The money is so behind in women’s football and sport in general.

“So yeah, I do think there’s a lot of things and like, obviously, grassroots for young girls and stuff needs to improve a bit more, but I think it’s getting there.”

Next month, Cooney-Cross will be competing for gold at the 2024 Paris Olympics, after making the Matildas squad selection alongside other World Cup heroes like Mary Fowler, Katrina Gorry and Hayley Rasso. Their first match will be against Germany, on July 26, 2024.

Image source: Getty Images / James Worsfold and Badley Kamaris