Kennedy: ‘I’m not actually a defender!’

She may have morphed into one of the world’s top defenders, but it’s all a bit of a surprise to 22-year-old Westfield Matildas star Alanna Kennedy, who grew up playing another position.

“When I was younger I was always a midfielder. That’s something that a lot of people don’t know about me.

“I naturally am a midfielder – I’m not actually a defender. It’s just something that happened,” she told

It’s been a huge boost for the Matildas that Kennedy’s position switch has been so successful.

She is developing into one of the best in the world in her position after a year in which she faced – and bossed - some of the best strikers from Brazil, Japan and USA.

And she is set to continue that form tomorrow (Sunday) when the Matildas face China PR in Geelong. 

Kennedy bossing Brazil in September
Kennedy bossing Brazil in September

In the Westfield W-League she has signed for ambitious Melbourne City where she’s developing her game even further under the coaching of former Socceroos defender Patrick Kisnorbo.

In the US, Kennedy plays under former Matildas coach Tom Sermanni at Orlando Pride in the NWSL.

And not only has she developed her defensive game, but has come up with some superb set pieces for the club, just adding to her reputation as a ball-playing defender who can also hurt teams. 

Little wonder there are huge wraps on this player, who at 22 could well be one of the world's best players in years to come. 

The Western Sydney product is one of a growing number of Australians who aren’t just making up the numbers but are actually leading the way in the NWSL.

Sam Kerr, Hayley Raso, Steph Catley and Kennedy as well as keeper Lydia Williams are all making massive strides in the US.

 “People know our names now and obviously the tournament of nations was a great success [for the Matildas].

“And the US are a powerhouse of women’s football and we’re now a threat against them," Kennedy says. 

“We want to be world champions and win a medal at the Olympics – preferably gold. But that’s the big goal. To get there, though, we have to play to our potential.”

And if Kennedy reaches her potential, she too can be the world’s best - as a defender.