Torpey: CommBank Matildas call-up "dream come true"

The world of women’s football was abuzz on Tuesday, when NWSL giants San Diego Wave announced they had signed Kaitlyn Torpey for a reported record Australian transfer fee.

The 23-year-old wingback signing for the Wave is some achievement. Little did most pundits know that her week was about to get even better.

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The former Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City player said it was a “dream come true” when her name was announced on Wednesday morning, as part of Tony Gustavsson’s 23-player squad to take on Uzbekistan in the third and final round of Paris Olympic qualification. It is the first time that Torpey has been selected in a senior CommBank Matildas squad.

“I was at home in Brisbane with my parents,” she explained. “We got an email. As soon as the email popped up I told them, and we had a cute little group hug – and then I just cried! It was an amazing moment that I’ll cherish forever.”

“So, yeah, here we are. This week signed for one of the biggest clubs in America, but also the world, and one of my dreams come true with the Matildas.”

Long-time followers of the A-League Women know how good Kaitlyn Torpey is. A product of the Queensland Academy of Sports, she made 43 appearances for the Brisbane Roar, before signing in 2021 for Melbourne City.

It has been a focus on hard work – with help from both the Australian U23 program and her club Melbourne City – that has elevated her game in the last 12 months.

Kaitlyn Torpey during U23 camp in Brisbane. (Photo: Ann Odong/Football Australia)

“In the offseason, I decided to stay here in Melbourne,” she explained, turning down opportunities to either go back to Queensland to spend time with family, or to play in the NSW NPL.

“And I just built my body up. I was in every day, long hours, probably more than we spend in the on-season. I didn’t really have a break, I just spent time focusing on things that I really wanted to work on, and focusing on things that I thought I needed to improve my game.

“I took advice from Dario [Vidosic, Melbourne City coach] from last season, I took advice off some of the Matildas staff, and then I basically spent all offseason – four months – doing it, and working probably harder than I’ve ever worked in my life, and it’s carried over into the season.

“I’ve had the confidence this season because I felt that I’ve prepared better than anyone else, probably, in Australia.”

She credits the Australian u23 program, led by CommBank Matildas assistant coach Mel Andreatta, as vitally important to help bridge the gap between the Young Matildas (u20s) and the CommBank Matildas.

“It gives us an opportunity to show what we’ve got in front of coaches like Mel Andreatta,” she said. Hopefully Tony [Gustavsson] watched some of the stuff from the U23s. I don’t think I would have got this call-up if I didn’t perform there.”

Torpey was full of praise for her club Melbourne City, but spoke with excitement about what lay ahead in the NWSL with San Diego Wave. She will head over to the United States at the conclusion of the international window.

“I could easily stay here in the A-League – I’m loving it,” she explained. “Melbourne City is a great club, but I wanted to push myself into possibly a better league, the number two league in the world. And I wanted to work under a coach like Casey Stoney.”

“Hopefully it puts my name out there a bit more with Matildas, or hopefully it gives them a bit more trust that if I can perform in that league, I can perform under them. So I think it’s a massive move. It is a career changing move, and I’m so excited to get started.”

The possibility of making her debut for the national side would be yet another dream come true for the Queenslander.

“It is a dream,” she admitted. “I feel privileged now just to be going, but to get on the field would be another dream come true. I’ve been thinking about it my whole life, I’ve been dreaming about it, I’ve been picturing it, and finally, it could be coming."

“I don’t expect to get it, but I back myself to get it while I’m in there, and I’m going to work hard as soon as day one comes around to try to show Tony what I’ve got.”

The CommBank Matildas will take on world number 47, Uzbekistan, in a two-match home-and-away series on 24 February 2024 at Tashkent’s Milliy Stadium (8.00 pm AEDT), before returning to Australia for the final Asian Qualifier on 28 February 2024 at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium (8.00 pm AEDT).