Tears and cheers as Hayley Raso makes Mother's Day
Growing up with a desire to become a professional footballer, there were plenty of people in the game Hayley Raso could have aspired to be like.
But there is only one person who truly inspired the Westfield Matildas and Portland Thorns forward: her mum, Renaye.
Despite raising three children as a single mum to Hayley and her two brothers, Jordan and Lachlan, Renaye still found the time to help her young daughter pursue her footballing dreams.
From daily trips between the family home on the Gold Coast and Brisbane for training, to escorting young Hayley around the country for matches, Renaye always made it happen.
To celebrate Mother's Day, www.matildas.com.au caught up with Raso - a three time Westfield W-League Premiership winner - to talk about the influence her mum has had on her life.
“She encouraged me just to chase my dreams, whatever I wanted to do she was fully supportive of,” Raso said.
“She used to drive me to Brisbane every day from the Gold Coast for training until I got my licence and she would travel around to all my games across Australia and around the world to watch me play.
HOW TO WATCH: The FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™ in Australia
GET KITTED OUT: All you need to know about the Westfield Matildas new Nike shirts
COMING NEXT: Australia re-affirms bid to host FIFA Women's World Cup 2023
I aspire to be like her, she devotes her entire life to her children and you can’t ask for much more in a mum.
"She means the world to me, she’s so caring, honest, she helps me through all my tough times in life. She’s very special to me and I think I’m very special to her too.”
The strength of the bond between any parent and their sports-loving child is tested when the athlete is enduring a tough period, be it an injury or poor form.
For Raso, that low point came in August last 2018 when she suffered a traumatic back injury, breaking three vertebrae while playing for Portland Thorns in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Not only was it a career-threatening injury, but it left Raso, 24, unsure of whether she'd be able to walk again.
And as Raso explains, there’s nothing quite like a mother’s love and support to help you over the biggest obstacles.
“When I broke my back I was in America and the minute [mum] found out what had happened she was on the next plane over to be by my side,” Raso said.
“She stayed with me in the rehabilitation hospital for a month, and stayed with me in Portland after that just helping me with everything I couldn’t do – like rolling over in bed, showering me, dressing me, she did everything for me.
“I don’t think I would have been able to get through that injury without her.”
Watch the full video with Hayley Raso and her mum Renaye in the player above.