Commonwealth Bank Matildas veteran Aivi Luik has announced her retirement from international football, with over a decade representing her country.
Luik's amazing career with the Commonwealth Bank Matildas saw her travel all over the world representing her country, earning 33 caps.
The first of Aivi's 33 matches at senior level for Australia came against New Zealand in February 2010 coming on as a substitute in the 3-0 win.
Finishing her Australian representative career on the biggest sporting stage of them all, she played her final game against Team GB in our historic win in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Semi-Final.
Luik's career saw her create everlasting memories, wearing the green and gold in a number of major tournaments.
"From my first game to my last and everything in between, this 11 year journey has taken me around the world, taught me so much and gifted me with friends and memories for life"
The veteran's first major tournament with the Commonwealth Bank Matildas was one to remember, helping Australia claim the 2010 Asian Cup. Making a start in our opening 2-0 win over Vietnam and gaining invaluable international experience surrounded by senior players.
As a nine-year-old in Perth watching the men’s FIFA World Cup in 1994, she knew that football was what she wanted to do.
One of her earliest memories of playing football was with her brother, Lee, who encouraged her to play. They spent countless days playing in the streets, in their backyard and at the beach.
After the Asian Cup win, Luik would travel to South Korea to represent Australia in the Peace Queen Cup. However, sadly Luik would not be included in the squad for the 2011 or 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cups.
The exclusion was something she says “hit [her] like a truck”. The disappointment of missing out made it difficult for her to watch the tournament, but it only drove the midfielder to be the best she could be.
Aivi would travel all around the world perfecting her trade, playing in a number of different leagues. From Ukraine to Scandinavia, England to Spain and even playing at college level in the USA with the University of Nevada.
Her accolades overseas were continuing to pile up, with these performances leading to a return to the national team setup with hopes of helping the team qualify for Rio 2016. Sadly, a quad injury would derail Luik's opportunity to compete at her first Olympic Games after missing selection for London 2012.
Her next cap for the Commonwealth Bank Matildas would come in the lead up to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, with a Cup of Nations win against Korea Republic being Luik's first start for the national team in seven years.
Then, in 2019 Luik was able to tick off a lifelong dream, competing in a FIFA Women’s World Cup, playing against Jamaica in Australia’s 4-0 victory.
Aivi, at the age of 34, was the oldest member of the squad but was ecstatic to be living out her dream of representing her country at a World Cup.
“I’ve wanted to be here for 25 years, It's a dream come true really," Luik said after the win against Jamaica.
The veteran embraced a role as a mentor to other players, with fellow Australian midfielder Alex Chidiac saying that Luik's support encouraged her to follow her dream of playing overseas.
In 2020, after missing out in 2016, Luik helped Australia qualify for the Olympics Games, and would go on to be selected in the squad that would travel to Tokyo to compete.
“It feels really amazing to be selected for the Tokyo Olympics. It’s been a lifelong dream for me since I was a little girl. I’m feeling pretty blessed and I’m feeling quite proud as well as excited,” Luik said.
Luik would make her Olympic Games debut in our opening match win against New Zealand, a stunning 11 years after debuting against our Trans-Tasman rivals. Aivi would show her versatility on the park throughout the tournament, switching between midfield and defence often.
Her final minutes representing Australia would come against Team GB in the Commonwealth Bank Matildas emphatic 4-3 win in the quarter-finals.
After the conclusion of the Olympic Games, Luik would go on to say, " I can easily say that it has been the highlight of my career and an honor that I'll cherish forever. On top of everything, to have shared it with a team that gave their all means so much to me."
Her love of football and of our fans will be sorely missed at games, however, we know she'll still be cheering for her teammates in the stands.
Aivi Luik – International Career Highlights
- Debut: February 2010 v New Zealand (Auckland, New Zealand)
- International Caps (Goals): 33 (0)
- FIFA Women's World Cup: 2019 (France)
- AFC Women's Asian Cup: 2010* (China), 2018 (Jordan)
- Olympic Games: 2020 (Tokyo, Japan)
- FFA Cup of Nations: 2019* (Australia)