"So honoured" to win first Matildas cap

Published 11:00am 11 April 2024

"So honoured" to win first Matildas cap
Words by Nick Crockford

Sharn Freier says she was “very nervous, excited and honoured” to make her international debut for the Matildas yesterday.

The former Pine Rivers United and Moreton Bay United (now Moreton City Excelsior) winger came off the bench late in the ‘Tillies 2-0 win over Mexico in Texas.

Now with Brisbane Roar, Freier has battled back from a serious ACL injury in 2021 while at Moreton Bay, to cap a superb season.

She scored three goals and had five assists in the A-League Women but topped the competition’s stats for taking on opponents and chance-creating runs.

To those honours she now adds a Matildas cap after becoming the 228th player to pull on the green and gold for Australia’s national women’s team.

And there may be more. The 'Tillies face China on May 31 in Adelaide and June 3 in Sydney before announcing their squad for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Sharn Freier replaces Kyra Cooney-Cross in yesterday's friendly international against Mexico. Picture: Football Australia

Former Mango Hill resident and Peninsula Power player Cortnee Vine and ex-Redcliffe State High School student Teagan Micah were also in the Matildas’ squad.

“I still can’t really believe it,” Freier told Football Australia, “it was an amazing feeling last night. I feel so honoured. It been surreal the last 24 hours.

“(When told to warm-up) I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t know if I was going on or not.

“Then when they said ‘you’re up’! I was excited and numb and very nervous. I didn’t want to think too much.

“Going on I felt proud and focussed on what I had to do. The minutes I had, it was fast and I was trying to work my way in.

Sharn crosses the white line and makes her international debut, becoming the 228th Matilda. Picture: Football Australia

“Making sure you are in the right position, getting ready for the next action, defensively getting ready to attack. (You need) to be ready for anything that happens.

“From start to finish, warming up, getting ready to go on, going on …. it’s something I will always remember.”

Three years ago, with Moreton Bay senior women, Freier was quietly tipped as an outside chance for Matildas’ 2023 Women’s World Cup squad. Then injury struck.

“Doing my ACL … I didn’t know what to expect, how I’d come back, it was all new to me,” Freier recalls.

“It's something I was taking day by day. (I’m) proud to get through that, come back stronger and play at this level. And extremely grateful for the support I’ve had.

All smiles - Sharn Freier walks off in Texas having made her international debut. Picture: Football Australia

“The last two-and-a half weeks have been crazy. It’s been an amazing experience. I’ve learned so much and last night topped it off.

“I’m very, very grateful to (Matildas coach) Tony (Gustavsson) for giving me this opportunity. Once you get a bit of a taste about what it’s like, it pushes you.

“Every day you have to work hard, do your best, do everything you can to keep this journey going. It’s a pretty competitive environment.”

Freier, 24 minutes younger than twin sister Laini, started at Pine Rivers United before joining Moreton Bay United and winning the NPL Under 15 title in 2016.

Also in that team was Laini and Indiah Paige-Riley who won a Matildas cap in 2021 before opting to play for New Zealand, where she was born.

Sharn Freier then starred for Brisbane Roar, The Gap, Moreton Bay United senior women and Brisbane City, where Laini now plays.

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