Tracie McGovern says new book on the Matildas is 'definitely worth a read'

The pioneers: Heather Garriock, Tracie McGovern and Amy (Taylor) Duggan at the Encyclopedia of Matildas Book Launch.

The pioneers: Heather Garriock, Tracie McGovern and Amy (Taylor) Duggan at the Encyclopedia of Matildas Book Launch.

A just-released book detailing the history of the Australian women's football team the Matildas is 'definitely worth a read', says one of three Wauchope players to have pulled on the national jumper.

Tracie McGovern says the data in the book forms part of Australia's sporting history.

"More and more people are starting to take notice of the Matildas," McGovern said.

"Therefore it is important they know and understand the history.

"We've been kicking around since 1979 when Julie Dolan captained the team in our first A International match against rivals New Zealand."

With the side going down 2-1 to Italy in the first match of the World Cup, McGovern says some changes need to be made.

"For me it (the Italy game) was hard to watch because I feel like we have stepped away from the playing style we were playing that got us to this point in history.

"The girls are professional and talented so I'm not saying they can't play this new way, but have we had enough time to prepare and gel before the World Cup to pull it off?

"The Italians, true to form from when I played against them in the 90's, slowed the game down which was against how we like to play.

The Italians, true to form from when I played against them in the 90's, slowed the game down which was against how we like to play.

Tracie McGovern

"And it didn't make for a good entertaining match, with them diving for penalties. But it worked for them. I just don't like watching it from a spectators point of view.

"I like a fast pace and technically sound type game and that is the Matildas that I know and our country had grown to love watching.

"I had my doubts about our defence which came to fruition unfortunately.

"On a positive though, Ellie Carpenter, one of our youngest players, had a fantastic game.

"For a Matilda playing in her first World Cup, she was pretty much the only player that looked like she was playing with heart and pride so good on her for rising to the occasion.

"Ellie is definitely going to be one of our greatest in years to come if she can remain injury free.

"And I believe we should start with De Vanna and Kellond-Knight in our game against Brazil."

McGovern says she will be keenly watching the match with Brazil and looking for the Matildas to win the key moments.

World class: Tracie McGovern with Sam Kerr.

World class: Tracie McGovern with Sam Kerr.

The former national player says she would love to be part of a project where former Matilda's share stories with the current players.

She also says it is good to see former players getting behind the microphone and commentating.

But she believes more needs to be done to assist women getting into coaching.

McGovern says there is room for improvement when it comes to the former Matildas meeting the current crop and having discussions.

"There are plenty of stories to share and I believe it's an important project that needs to be undertaken.

"As momentum grows the current players need to know where they come from and who exactly they are truly playing for.

"Female athletes generally still have to work and study and run family homes, so a clear path to succeed isn't always made for us, but it makes female athletes and their success stories all the more interesting."

She says part of those discussions could detail the sacrifices players made in the early days of the Matildas.

"I started playing from Wauchope and having to drive back and forth to Newcastle and Sydney every weekend while trying to finished high school was exhausting.

I started playing from Wauchope and having to drive back and forth to Newcastle and Sydney every weekend while trying to finished high school was exhausting.

Tracie McGovern

"I don't think anyone really understands the impact that had on me during that time. I was on auto pilot just trying to get through each day."

After relocating to Newcastle, McGovern's life was further upended when she had to move to Canberra to train at the AIS.

She says the change in lifestyle and environment meant she was away from her support network was was 'extremely tough for me as a young athlete'.

"I was surrounded with players that were a lot older than me and we just didn't have the support staff the players of today have. It was isolating," she said.

McGovern nominates Joey Peters as the best player she took the field with.

"I played with and against Joey Peters through our high school and professional careers.

"She was and still is a great reader of the game. I was once knocked out after coping a ball to the side of my head that came from a Joey Peters free kick.

"She had power, and an extremely good footballing brain. Joey now commentates for SBS and Fox Sports.

"Of the current crop you can't be past Sam Kerr.

"She is one player who is fortunate enough to be making a professional career out of football with offers to play overseas and massive sponsorships.

"Sam is classed as one of the world's best players in 2019 and features in pretty much every advertisement you can find for the FIFA Women's World Cup.

"She is exciting to watch, she scores goals and we all love to see her famous back flip celebration."

In the blood: Tracie and daughter Zada at Matilda versus Chile match.

In the blood: Tracie and daughter Zada at Matilda versus Chile match.

McGovern runs the Australian Sportswoman website and social media platforms and continues to promote Australian female athletes and sporting teams.

She has an online store selling ASW apparel. Go to the website.

Despite lower back issues, McGovern says she still maintains a good level of fitness and hopes to get involved in grassroots coaching with her five year old daughter.

The Matildas will take on Brazil in a virtual must-win clash at 2am on Friday.

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