Alanna Kennedy - Australia
My name is Alanna Kennedy. I am a defender/ midfielder for Orlando Pride, Sydney FC and the Australian Women’s national team. My footballing journey started when I was 4 or 5. My brother was my idol growing up and he played football. I was always in the backyard with him and my sister kicking the ball around. I spent my childhood hanging out with the boys from my school team on the weekends, always with a ball at my feet. I only started playing with girls once I went to my rep team at 10 and from then on I was on my way to being a Matilda. I played in the W-League from 16 and debuted for the Matildas at age 17 against New Zealand. I have been in the team ever since. I am also in my 4th season in the NWSL and heading to my second World Cup this June.
Who is in the photos? Where were the photos taken?
The people in my photos are my Orlando Pride teammates, Matildas teammates and fans. These are the people who have been on my journey as I spend my time in the USA.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with any of the photos?
I tried to show some of the everyday activities of a footballer but also some behind the scenes shots that people don’t always get to see. I tried to include some shots of fans as the game is nothing without them and their experience on game day is not something we always see, so it was exciting for me to actually experience that too. Artistically, I love the story it captures of passionate fans.
What has been your football journey up until now?
As a footballer, I have sacrificed a lot and even more as a female. However, I never really used that word because it was just the necessary steps I needed to take to make my dreams a reality and I enjoyed football so much. As I get older, the biggest sacrifice is being away from my family. I have been fortunate enough to represent Australia at the Olympics and this is my second World Cup and both tournaments have been a major highlight. Particularly making history last WWC against Brazil, being the first Aussie team to win a knockout game at a World Cup. A low light for me would be missing a penalty against Brazil in the Olympic quarters in 2016, which ended our Olympic campaign.
What are the biggest changes happening at the moment in women's football?
The biggest change happening right now in women’s football is the quality of football displayed due to the closing of the gap in resources, finances, and opportunities between men and women in sport. It’s an exciting spectacle, as it always has been. However with all of the above extras, we are able to apply ourselves fully to our trade.
What does football mean to you? Do you have a message for the next generation of young female footballers
Football is a part of me. I don’t know my life without it. My message for the next generation would be to chase their dreams relentlessly and enjoy every moment.
What are the opportunities for female footballers in Australia?
Female football in Australia has a long way to go. However over the past 4-5 years it has taken huge steps forward. There is plenty of participation at the grassroots level and opportunities to represent at rep, state, and national level. Our W-League is going from strength to strength and is the league I enjoy playing in the most (maybe biased).
What is the future for Australian women's football?
The future of Australian football is looking healthy! We have hopes to hold the 2023 World Cup on our home soil and that would be a great opportunity to inspire young Australians but also to bring more international players over to the W-League. The core of our current Matildas squad is still reasonably young, so this generation has a lot to give together still.
What do you expect to change after the 2019 WWC?
I think for us Aussies, if we have a successful World Cup it will bring more people to our W-League in Australia, as well as raise the profile of female football in Australia and all over the world.
What does your family think of your job as a professional soccer player?
My family loves my job. This is as much their journey as it is mine.
What’s one thing you always do before a game?
Before a game, I always go at the end of the line in the warm up.