The Matildas have less than two weeks until they begin a second consecutive Olympic campaign.
Pitted against New Zealand, Sweden and the USA in Group G, every player must be at their best if they want to come close to earning medals.
The opener against the Kiwis is on 21 July so, before then, get to know all the important information, plus some that’s not so important, on every Matilda in the Olympic squad.
After managing two top-flight Scandinavian men’s teams to relegation in consecutive years, Gustavsson decided to try his luck at coaching women.
He’s since guided Tyresö FF to its first Swedish title and a Champions League final and been an assistant coach in the United States’ 2015 and 2019 World Cup wins. The Swede began his Matildas tenure in January this year and has emphasised a desire for “aggression”, “pressing”, and positional adaptability from his players.
Fun fact: Gustavsson spent the 1996 season playing for FC Café Opera, a then-third division Swedish team founded in 1991 by Alessandro Catenacci and (possibly) named after Catenacci’s itinerary for a day out in Naples.
Date of birth: 13 May 1988
Club: Arsenal (England)
More than a decade after debuting for the Matildas at 16 years old, Williams saved a remarkable 87 percent of shots on target in Melbourne City’s undefeated 2019/20 season.
Having also conceded no goals in her last five competitive fixtures, it’s evident opposition attackers won’t have an easy task beating the veteran.
The three-time W-League Goalkeeper of the Year saved a penalty from Brazil’s legendary Marta in her last Olympic match, but shootout defeat in 2016 means she’ll be hoping to make amends this time around.
Fun fact: Williams moved from Kalgoorlie at 11 years old after her mum got a job at a Canberra bible college; she then joined her first football club, Tuggeranong United, where goalkeeper was the only position available.
Date of birth: 25 February 1994
Club: West Ham United (England)
Despite being named the Women’s Super League’s best goalkeeper in a Carteret Analytics study, Arnold was only named as one of the four travelling reserves until a very recent rule change allowed 22 players to be in each squad.
A three-time W-League Goalkeeper of the Year, she joined eight other Aussies in England’s women system upon signing for West Ham. The perennial backup keeper for almost all of her ten years in the national set-up, she was between the sticks in the recent friendly defeats against the Netherlands and Denmark.
Fun fact: In an 11-0 FA Cup romp against Chichester & Selsey last season, a bizarre turn of events in the 68th minute saw Arnold substituted on as a midfielder.
Date of birth: 20 October 1997
Club: IL Sandviken (Norway)
Williams’ heir apparent to the goalkeeping throne, Micah jetted to Europe – more specifically, to Norway to play for Arna-Bjørnar – after only five W-League appearances.
Now the number one for Arna-Bjørnar’s rivals IL Sandviken, she made her senior international debut against Sweden a mere 36 days before Australia faces New Zealand at the Olympics.
The Toppserien’s finest goalkeeper of the 2020 season may very much be a Matildas backup option, but, even if she doesn’t play, Micah will look back on Tokyo as a valuable learning experience.
Fun fact: Able to take some time off during a September 2020 mid-season break, Micah hiked a glacier as part of a natural Norwegian sightseeing splurge.
Date of birth: 1 February 1989
Club: Vittsjö GIK (Sweden)
The fourth-most capped Matilda and a two-time Julie Dolan Medal winner, Polkinghorne is an icon of Australian football. The legendary Brisbane Roar central defender has been to four World Cups, four Asian Cups and co-captained her country at the 2016 Olympics.
However, she hasn’t played in a tournament win for the Matildas since a 6-1 drubbing of Zimbabwe in Rio five years ago; she’ll be hoping to right this particular ship in the opener against New Zealand.
Fun fact: There are around 1700 Polkinghornes living in Australia and 2900 in the world. Having died in 1851, James Polkinghorne definitely isn’t one of those 2900 but was notably a champion Cornish wrestler and 19th-century English pub owner.
Date of birth: 21 January 1995
Club: Free Agent
Despite starting every Tottenham league match in 2020/21 – bar the first (subbed on) and the last three (international duty) – Kennedy was released by the club when her contract expired in May.
She was primarily deployed as a tough-tackling defensive midfielder at Spurs but has been a mainstay in the Matildas’ centre of defence since debuting in 2012. After missing the crucial shootout penalty against Brazil last Olympics, Kennedy will be determined to redeem herself in Japan.
Fun fact: Forrest Gump and The Lion King won three awards each at the 52nd Golden Globes on Kennedy’s date of birth.
Date of birth: 26 January 1994
Club: Arsenal (England)
The PFA Women’s Player of the Year in 2020 had Arsenal fending off Champions League winners Olympique Lyon for her signature 12 months ago, but her first season at the Gunners was hampered by injuries.
One of the world’s best left-backs, she also spent some of her six Women’s Super League appearances playing at right-back, centre-back and even right-wing last season. Catley has contributed to five W-League Championships with her expert positional sense and efficiency going forward.
Fun fact: An anagram of her name is “satchel type”. Could Catley be eyeing off a post-football career as a postie?
Date of birth: 28 November 1989
Club: EA de Guingamp (France)
Formerly Laura Alleway, Brock is another who was initially named as a travelling reserve but granted a reprieve upon the rule change.
It would’ve been another heartbreaking tournament to have to sit out of as, due to a foot injury on the eve of the competition, she missed out on the 2019 World Cup too.
But, proving her passion and loyalty, the tall centre-back still chose to follow the Matildas at her own expense in France. Brock appeared in 18 out of Guingamp’s 22 league games last season as well as the Matildas’ friendlies against Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Fun fact: While she rates herself on the dance-floor, Brock has confessed she’s “too trusting” and has fallen victim to many pranks during her 13-year senior career.
Date of Birth: 28 April 2000
Club: Olympique Lyonnais (France)
Carpenter made her Matildas debut in 2016 at just 15 years old and, five months later, became the youngest female footballer to ever compete at the Olympics.
The list of records is breathtaking, but she’s thrived on the pressure to become a crucial part of the Australian team. Though able to play in any defensive position, her athleticism and bold attacking instincts see her mainly used as a right-back.
An unused substitute in Lyon’s 2020 Champions League Final win, The Guardian ranked her the 76th-best female footballer in the world last December.
Fun fact: Growing up with her brother Jeremy, Carpenter took part in cricket, tennis, Australian rules, touch rugby league, athletics, cross country, swimming and water skiing, as well as competing in tap, ballet, and jazz dancing.
Date of birth: 12 February 2002
Club: Western Sydney Wanderers (Australia)
Nevin made her Matildas debut against Denmark in June and came off the bench for a second time days later against Sweden.
Prior to last season where fears of burn-out meant she was regularly rested, the left-back won the Wanderers Medal in 2019/20 after playing every minute of the campaign at just 18 years old.
Originally selected as an Olympic travelling reserve, Nevin is, alongside best friend Kyra Cooney-Cross, one of just two W-League players in the squad.
Fun fact: Nevin had a childhood crush on Zac Efron.
Date of birth: 20 September 2001
Club: FC Rosengård (Sweden)
The teenaged full-back signed for Swedish powerhouses Rosengård from Adelaide United to improve her chances of making the 2023 World Cup squad, so an Olympic call-up, albeit initially as a travelling reserve, may have even taken her by surprise.
Her Damallsvenskan-leading team has won six of the last eleven titles, come second a further four times, and provided Grant two substitute appearances so far. She appeared on the Australian bench against Denmark and Sweden but is yet to be capped.
Fun fact: Addressing Congress and the American public, US President George W. Bush declared a “war on terror” on Grant’s date of birth.
Date of birth: 10 August 1990
Club: Hammarby IF (Sweden)
Set-piece specialist Kellond-Knight was FFA Female Footballer of the Year in 2011 and has been named in two World Cup All-Star Teams.
However, due to an ACL injury suffered 11 months ago, the left-footed defensive midfielder will be going into the Games rusty; she’s only played 97 minutes of football since the pandemic and none for Australia since March 2020.
The second-most capped Matilda heading to Tokyo, her experience will be crucial to the team no matter how often she’s on the park.
Fun fact: “KK” went viral in 2016 when, during a break in the Olympic match against Brazil, an inattentive Lisa De Vanna tried to drink from the non-drinking end of a water bottle, before Kellond-Knight promptly flipped the bottle in De Vanna’s hand, allowing the winger’s thirst to be satisfactorily quenched.
Emily van Egmond
Date of birth: 12 July 1993
Club: Free Agent
A champion in three countries, van Egmond has had a career that most could only dream of. The lanky, 179-centimetre midfielder was crucial to the struggling West Ham’s Women’s Super League survival last season and scored four goals from 19 starts.
After rejecting a contract extension though, ESPN has since touted her as a Roma and Paris Saint-Germain target. The creative heartbeat of the Matildas, she’ll be the main supplier of the incisive passes Sam Kerr, Hayley Raso and Caitlin Foord crave.
Fun fact: Van Egmond is the daughter of NSL journeyman and former Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond. With over 100 caps at age 27 though, Emily’s almost certainly usurped her father’s footballing legacy.
Date of birth: 16 June 1991
Club: West Ham United (England)
A Julie Dolan medallist and player for clubs in seven different countries, Yallop (née Butt) will be looking for her first Olympic minutes in Tokyo.
The youngest of seven children, she’s a hard-working midfielder with an eye for goal; she scored 14 goals in 19 games for Norway’s Klepp IL in 2017, including four during a 29-minute bonanza against Medkila.
Having just signed for the Hammers as a midfield successor to Emily van Egmond, the 158 cm dynamo will have big shoes to fill.
Fun fact: Tameka Yallop and then-Klepp IL teammate Kirsty Yallop announced their engagement in December 2017 before marrying 14 months later. The Matilda and Football Fern have been together since 2015 when they both played at Brisbane Roar.
Date of birth: 22 December 1994
Club: Kansas City (United States)
Before her January 2021 move to the newly-formed Kansas City team, Logarzo and her Bristol City teammates earned one point and conceded 40 goals in her eight Women’s Super League games while playing in England.
The midfielder scored in the shootout against Brazil last Olympics and delivered a memorable player of the match performance against the same opponents at the 2019 World Cup, but could take a while to find herself in the starting eleven in Tokyo. She’s only played 72 minutes since early May and none for the Matildas since March 2020.
Fun fact: Logarzo’s grandmother, Gina Zarrella, in an interview with matildas.com.au stated that Logarzo remains the most affectionate of her grandchildren. “She rings me and says ‘nonna, I love you,’” Zarella said.
Date of birth: 18 March 1985
Club: Sevilla (Spain)
Luik’s journey to her first Olympics has been nothing short of amazing. After going through the U.S. college system, the defensive midfielder has played in nine countries, was a reserve player in the Rio 2016 squad and, at the age of 36, has now finally earned a place in an Olympic team.
Appearing in both midfield and defence for Sevilla last season, Luik was a key cog in the much-improved Spanish side. And her form continued into internationals; the oldest-ever Matilda has played in every warm-up match so far and was Australia’s player of the match against the Netherlands.
Fun fact: Luik shares a birthday with Wellington Phoenix and Fawkner-Whittlesea Blues legend Vince Lia.
Date of birth: 15 February 2002
Club: Melbourne Victory (Australia)
Fresh off a season in which she scored an astonishing Grand Final-winning goal against Sydney FC, Cooney-Cross was rewarded with a senior international debut against Denmark in June.
The young Queenslander can play in midfield and attack and showed her goalscoring talent in 2020/21, equal-leading Melbourne Victory’s season goalscoring chart and scooping up the W-League’s award for Young Footballer of the Year.
This international tournament might have come too early for her to star, but she’ll be going to many more if her rise continues.
Fun fact: Cooney-Cross is one of the few Australian footballers with an aptly football-related surname. Kick360 hopes she attends monthly conventions with Golgol Mebrahtu and Thomas Glover.
Date of birth: 25 June 1991
Club: PSV (Netherlands)
Simon has had prodigious attacking talent from a young age and made her Matildas debut two months after her 16th birthday.
A proven tournament performer, she scored the winning penalty in the 2010 Asian Cup Final and progression-sealing goals against Norway and Brazil in the 2011 and 2015 World Cups respectively.
Positionally versatile, confident on the ball and adept at finding space, her known ability and experience have seen her linked with a move to the youthful Manchester United.
Fun fact: The cousin of 11-game Matilda Gema Simon, Kyah Simon scored against Brazil in 2008 to make her the first Indigenous Australian to hit the back of the net for the women’s national team.
Date of birth: 10 September 1993
Club: Chelsea (England)
Just three years after quitting Aussie rules, a 15-year-old Kerr came on as a 76th-minute substitute for Amber Neilsen in her senior international debut against Italy.
One year later she scored the first of her many Matildas goals in the 2010 Asian Cup Final. Fast-forward another 11 years and she’s the main attraction of an Australian team brimming with superstars.
Already holding the records for most goals in the American NWSL (77) and the W-League (69), the striker won the Women’s Super League Golden Boot last season with 21 goals. Her tally’s now 137 goals in her last 158 league games.
Fun fact: Kerr’s trademark backflip has swept the world. It’s become so iconic that it, along with Serena Williams and other much-celebrated female athletes, was featured in a major advertisement that aired during the 91st Academy Awards in 2019.
Date of birth: 11 November 1994
Club: Arsenal (England)
Aged 16, Foord won the Best Young Player award at the 2011 World Cup. The versatile winger, now an important part of Arsenal’s star-studded team, has since gone on to win four W-League trophies and the 2016 Asian Women’s Footballer of the Year prize.
Portland Thorns’ former number-nine has spent time playing as a centre forward, and this is evident in her attacking instincts. Constantly sitting on defenders’ shoulders, Foord utilised her pace to supply the Gunners with 10 goals and five assists last season.
Fun fact: Foord scored four goals in three games against her friend Alanna Kennedy’s Tottenham last season. In those contests, Arsenal put eleven past their North London rivals.
Date of birth: 5 September 1994
Club: Everton (England)
Another Matildas attacker in her prime footballing years, Raso appeared in every Women’s Super League game for Everton last season.
However, it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for the ribbon-wearing right-winger. A knee in her back while playing for Portland Thorns in 2018 left three vertebrae broken and Raso unsure if she’d walk again.
Just six months later though, the zippy playmaker scored on her return in a Cup of Nations victory against New Zealand.
Fun fact: Having studied a Bachelor of Paramedicine and a Bachelor of Paramedic Science, post-football, Raso is set to become – you guessed it – a paramedic.
Date of birth: 13 May 1992
Club: Vittsjö GIK (Sweden)
Gielnik was the W-League’s leading goalscorer in 2020/21, firing in 13 in her 12 Brisbane Roar games before she left for Europe during the week of the semi-finals.
The third Australian player – after Clare Polkinghorne and Dylan Holmes – to cut their domestic season short in March and head to Sweden, the attacker goes into the Olympics looking to dispel some tournament demons.
She had a shootout penalty saved in the 2019 World Cup defeat to Norway but scored twice in the Matildas’ 2-5 defeat against Germany this April and is arguably in the best form of her career.
Fun fact: Along with Laura Brock, Collette McCallum and Tanya Oxtoby, Gielnik was one of the first four Aussie women to play in the Women’s Super League when she played for Liverpool in 2012. Gielnik’s Reds won just one of their 14 games that season.
Date of birth: 14 February 2003
Club: Montpellier (France)
Half the age of fellow Olympic debutant Aivi Luik, Fowler is this squad’s youngest player and was the youngest of any at the 2019 World Cup.
Good with both feet, she’s a more youthful replacement for the legendary Lisa De Vanna and will be, at the very least, an exciting option to come off the Matildas’ bench.
Having elected to represent Australia rather than her father’s native Ireland or mother’s Papua New Guinea, she made her debut against Brazil in 2018. In June this year, Fowler scored her first Matildas goal against Denmark.
Fun fact: On Fowler’s date of birth, Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell, died from a progressive lung disease at the early age of six.
Image Supplied: Matildas