Caitlin Foord - Australia
My Name is Caitlin Foord. I'm a 23-year-old Australian who is currently playing for The Matildas (Australian Women’s national team) and my club football for the Portland Thorns in the NWSL. I have been part of the Matildas for 8 years, I debuted at the age of 16 and have played in two World Cups (2011 & 2015) and currently in preparations for my third along with the 2016 Rio Olympic games.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with any of the photos?
In my photos are my Matildas teammates and Portland teammates, taken in the USA in Portland (Providence park, Nike HQ) Denver & Orlando. I tried to show an insight into behind the scenes camp life and playing at the Portland Thorns. The statue of Ronaldo at NIKE HQ - I took a photo of him because he was my favourite player growing up and he is the reason why I wear the #9 jersey.
Are there any good stories connected with the people you photographed?
Alanna Kennedy & Steph Catley. Obviously in the photo we all have our disposable cameras doing this Goal Click project, but I have known both of them since I was young. It is pretty cool that I’m on this football journey now with them and experienced a lot together over the years. We have all played together since we were about 13.
What is your favourite photo? Why?
Orlando City Stadium was where our first game of the 2019 NWSL season kicked off and I scored my first NWSL goal. Then a few weeks later in the same stadium I was able to find the back of the net again. It has taken me a few seasons to get that first NWSL goal but in my defence my first 3 NWSL seasons with Sky Blue FC I was playing as a right back. Last season my first year at the Thorns was my first season playing as a forward in the NWSL, but I was unable to score after joining the Thorns for the second half of the reason returning from injury. So it meant a lot to me to score and get that monkey off my back first game.
I can't put into words what it feels like to play in this Providence Park stadium. I honestly think it is one of the best in the world. I’ve played on both ends in this stadium, being the opposition and now the home team and it gives a buzz on both ends. It’s the one game every opponent looks forward to because it is always packed with 15,000 to 20,000 vocal fans cheering from start to end. It has been under construction to add an extra 5,000 seats! And an overall upgrade which includes the best available artificial turf, new jumbo screens, and locker room. So I can't even imagine what it is going to feel like to play in this stadium now! It will be insane.
What are the biggest changes happening at the moment in women's football?
I think the biggest changes are the support and popularity of women’s football, it has grown so much over the last few years. Obviously it still has a long way to go but it is only going to continue to go uphill from here, which is exciting, And for us footballers it is opening up more and more opportunities which we deserve.
What does football mean to you? Do you have a message for the next generation of young female footballers
Football means everything to me. It has shown me the world, brought so many amazing people into my life and shaped me into the person I am today. My message for the next generation would be to just have fun and enjoy it! I play my best football when I am having fun. Obviously there is the hard work and sacrifices along the way, but it becomes a choice more then a sacrifice when you enjoying doing it.
What has been your football journey up until now?
I started playing football at the age of 9. Football has never been a part of my family; I am the first one to play the sport. I started off playing in school playgrounds with the boys, then joined my local team with the boys from school - and played with boys until I joined a girl’s team at the age of 12. I played in school and representative tournaments where I was then noticed and called into youth national team camps and went away on tournaments... then honestly from that point I knew this is what I wanted to do and I didn't look back. I made the most of every opportunity I was given with working my way up to the top (Matildas) and once I was there I have wanted to stay there and do this for as long as I can. I have goals to win a World Cup and Olympic medal. I have not achieved either of those yet, so this is something the Matildas and myself are working towards.
The best part of football is the places it takes you, the people you meet and obviously the wins and emotions you experience along with your teammates. The worst would have to be the setbacks that come with the sport, the injuries. They are some of the hardest times of your life, mentally and physically, but in the end they make you more driven and stronger.
Sacrifice is a big piece of getting me to where I am today. My mother Simone raised myself and my sister as a single parent. So that was hard enough financially, but then having my football expenses on top of that was very challenging for her. But I had a dream and all my mum had in her mind was that she was going to do whatever she could to help myself and my sister reach our dreams. So she sacrificed her whole life to shape mine into the way it is today.
What are the opportunities for female footballers in Australia?
There are a lot more female teams now and more exposure with the Matildas – an opportunity for young inspiring footballers to have footballing female role models on home soil, which I didn't have growing up.
What is the future for Australian women's football?
The future is exciting, hopefully very soon we will be World Champions and Olympic medalists!
What do you expect to change after the 2019 WWC?
Personally, hopefully my whole life. In general, female football will take a massive leap in all countries around the world by closing the gender equality gap.