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What the Matildas have taught us about teams, leadership and living your legacy?

The whole nation will remember the Matilda's nail-biting penalty shootout against France, which saw Australia reach the semi-finals for the first time ever!

The Matildas, beyond their remarkable soccer journey, have some remarkable lessons to offer that go way beyond the field. We're talking about teamwork that transcends boundaries, leadership that drives change, and the art of crafting a lasting legacy.

The Matilda’s have taught us so much more. This is what I learnt about teams, leadership and living a legacy.

What the Matildas have taught us about teams, leadership and living your legacy?
Photo by: CommBank Matildas


The team had a clear purpose that extended beyond football, according to their coach Tony Gustavsson. Their purpose was to inspire their nation, leave a lasting legacy, and focus on funding the sport.

Having known each other for a long time, the team had built strong relationships and a psychologically safe space where they could freely be themselves. Their trust in each other was evident during the penalty shoot-out, where the goalie ventured out of the goals to kick a penalty in the 10th attempt. This showed the team's reliance on each other.

Each team member had a clear understanding of their role and direction, with a focus on the team's goals rather than individual agendas. Despite having high-performing individuals, the team operated cohesively, making the team their top priority. Even Strawberry Kisses, Nicky Webster's hit from back in the day, stands as a testament to their bonding.


Samantha Kerr was an exceptional Captain. She always played with authenticity and raw emotion, and it was clear that she thrived under pressure. She was inspired by strong leaders who came before her and advocated for change. One of her heroes was Cathy Freeman, who she remembers watching run on home soil in one of the most amazing moments of her life. Kerr hopes that in 30 years, she and her team can be to kids what Freeman was to them.

Kerr's coach, Tony Gustavsson, made sure that she didn't hog the limelight as Captain. She even sat on the bench in several of the Women's FIFA World Cup games, giving other players the opportunity to shine. In the quarter-final penalty shootout against France, Gustavsson smiled and tried to help each team member relax before taking their shot. He was a great example of managing emotions under pressure and being there for his team.

Leadership is not just about holding a positional role. It's about acting as a leader and stepping up when the team needs it most. Every member of the team showed resilience and acted as a leader, especially under pressure. They didn't let setbacks, such as injuries or tough opponents, bring them down. Even questionable calls by the referees didn't stop them from giving their best effort.

Living your legacy

The Matilda's had a clear purpose going into the FIFA World Cup. They've worked hard to build a community and unite the nation around their passion for soccer. Although soccer isn't new, the Matilda's have brought a spotlight to it. They've become strong role models for girls across Australia, showing them that determination, hard work, and dedication can lead to great things.

What's really impressive is that the Matilda's efforts are having long-term impacts. They're elevating women's soccer and inspiring the next generation. This is a reminder that striving for a legacy involves actions that resonate far beyond immediate success.

The Matilda's have put women's sports on the global stage in a way that every Australian can be proud of. They're creating a burning platform for change in women's sports, just as Cathy Freeman did at the 2000 Olympics. It's important that the dollars follow so that we can continue to support women in sports.

The Matilda's will forever be role models in Australian sport. Their teamwork, leadership, and legacy will be forever imprinted in Australian history.


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