Ciara and Mary Fowler may have been through a lot together but, for them, nothing compares to running out alongside each other in the Green and Gold of Australia.
The sisters, who have recently signed with Adelaide United to play in the Westfield W-League for the first time, have long since dreamed about playing football at the highest level.
Featured image courtesy of @theafcdotcom on Twitter
Mary made her senior Westfield Matildas debut at the age of 15 years and 162 days, becoming the fifth youngest player ever to do so. The 16-year-old has already collected four senior caps and was part of Ante Milicic’s FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ squad.
Ciara, 18, is embarking on her first international tournament with the Westfield Young Matildas in Thailand at the AFC U-19 Women's Championship.
Among all of the pair’s achievements, never did they imagine they would pull on the Australia jersey at the same time.
“It’s very special for both of us,” Ciara told matildas.com.au
“It’s my first trip away with the national team so I’m very proud to be able to share it with my sister. It makes the whole experience so much more special.
“To be able to have those memories in the future that we can both talk about, I’m very proud to be able to get on the pitch and represent my country.
“To be able to be together and have these moments together, it’s a dream of mine since I was little.
“It’s unbelievable to me that it’s at the same time as there’s a little bit of an age gap.”
Leah Blayney’s squad head into a winner-takes-all clash against Vietnam to round off Group A at 8pm AEDT on Saturday, 2 November.
Mary struck twice in the 3-1 win against host nation Thailand to ignite the Westfield Young Matildas’ chances of advancing in the Asian women's youth football showcase.
Australia will need all of Mary’s experience to shine through in the decider as only a victory will be enough for the adventure to continue into the Semi Finals.
“Not having done what I’ve already done with the senior team, I have always gone into camp trying to be seen as someone who is able to step up and lead,” said Mary.
“Talking on the pitch, helping players out, directing them in what to do.
“Having that experience gives you a bit more credit because they want to listen to you as well, so that helps, but I think it’s something that the whole team needs to do.
“Everyone needs to be a leader not just for the team but for themselves. It’s good to be able to have that influence on them.”
The ultimate goal in Thailand is to earn one of three qualification spots to the FIFA U-20 World Cup™ in Nigeria in July 2020.
A win against Vietnam at IPE Chonburi Stadium will guarantee Australia at least a third-place playoff, and Ciara insists the team’s belief is unwavering.
“We’re all quite close with each other and I think that helps a lot when we’re on the pitch,” Ciara added.
“We all share that common goal of wanting to win. If we all keep pushing and motivating each other on and off the pitch then I think we can get a great outcome.”
That positive sentiment is one echoed by Mary.
“We’ve really showed in training that we want to win,” Mary added.
“We want to go qualify for the World Cup.
“Everyone has been working hard and working together so it’s looking good.”
Westfield Young Matildas | 2019 AFC U-19 Women’s Championship | Chonburi, Thailand
Australia v Vietnam
Date: Saturday, 2 November 2019
Location: IPE Chonburi Stadium, Chonburi, Thailand
Kick-off: 4.00pm (local); 8.00pm (AEDT)