The Matildas were the big winners at 'Marie Claire' magazine's annual 'Women of the Year Awards' in Sydney on Tuesday night, with the beloved team crowned 'champions of the year' and Sam Kerr named 'icon of the year'. The Matildas captivated the country during the Women's World Cup earlier this year, making the semi-finals for the first time in history.
It marked the first time a male of female Aussie team had made it to the final four at a World Cup. 'Marie Claire' held its annual awards night on Tuesday, and the Matildas were recognised for their historic feats.
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"Not many people could be dubbed an icon before 30, but the Matildas’ captain Sam Kerr is not your average 30-year-old,” the magazine said. “The talented forward, who plays for Chelsea in the UK as well as leading the Australian women’s team, has been one of the driving forces that brought the Tillies not only to where they are today in terms of football, but also into the collective hearts of the nation."
Kerr told the publication: “Playing to packed stadiums around the country, in front of family and friends, while having the whole country support and get behind us was the highlight of 2023 for me. It was a surreal time and something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
As well as Kerr being named 'icon of the year' and the team winning 'champions of the year', young striker Mary Fowler will grace the cover of the latest edition of the mag. “When I think about it now, it feels like a dream,” she said about the Matildas' run to the semi-finals.
“It’s hard to put into words the legacy we’ve left behind. I think it’s really special that we can get recognised as a team for the work we did and the journey we’ve had together.”
Sam Kerr looking to the future with Matildas
Kerr also told Perth Now she's looking towards bigger and better things for the Matildas moving forward. “We obviously went into the World Cup not wanting to come fourth – we would have loved to have gone further,” she said. “But what we created off the pitch was even bigger. We’ve just had a chance to come back to Australia and play the Olympic qualifiers in Perth, and to see sell-out crowds in my hometown was epic.”
The 30-year-old is intent on ushering in a new wave of Matildas players, with the current squad sure to see some turnover before the next World Cup. “We are already seeing changes with funding being announced, which means better facilities and more opportunities for young girls to play the sport," she added.
"I’ve also launched my own football schools, Sam Kerr Football, which will be starting early next year. SKF will hopefully inspire the next generation of kids and give young players the best chance to live out their potential on the pitch and to fall in love with the beautiful game.”
More major recognition for an inspirational team!
Last night, @TheMatildas were named the 'Champions of the Year' at the @marieclaire Women of the Year Awards in Sydney 👏
Star forward Sam Kerr also won the 'Icon of the Year' award, whilst young star Mary Fowler features on the… pic.twitter.com/oTdh0TX9NX
— Front Page Football (@FrontPgFootball) November 21, 2023
More recognition for the Matildas' 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞 2023! 🤩🇦🇺
Australia's favourite national team were named the 'Champions of the Year' at the 2023 Marie Claire Women of the Year Awards after their amazing World Cup campaign on home soil.
Superstar Matildas captain Kerr… pic.twitter.com/PU1M3vlW8A
— KEEPUP (@keepupau) November 21, 2023
'Marie Claire' Women of the Year award winners:
Champions of the Year: The Matildas
Icon of the Year: Sam Kerr
Entertainer of the Year: Kylie Minogue
Eco Warrior of the Year: Lottie Dalziel
Voice of Now: Chanel Contos and Maria Thattil (joint)
Powerhouse of the Year: Prof. Megan Davis
Advocate of the Year: Hannah Diviney
Designer of the Year: Rebecca Vallance
Rising Star of the Year: Ruva Nywenga
Changemaker of the Year: Jess Hill
Creative of the Year: Amy Manford and Made Up Stories (joint)
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