England striker praises 'incredible growth of Australia's golden girls'
Not many players have as broad an insight into world football as current England and former Westfield W-League star Jodie Taylor – so it pays to listen when, with the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup on the horizon, she talks up the Westfield Matildas.
The 32-year-old has played at the elite level for 14 clubs in five different countries over a career that has also seen her win almost 40 caps for her country.
Included on Taylor’s glittering resumé are spells with Westfield W-League clubs Melbourne Victory (21 games, 12 goals), Sydney FC (12 games, 11 goals) and, most recently, Melbourne City, for whom she scored twice in six matches in the 2017/18 campaign.
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The free-scoring forward has her eyes on a second FIFA Women’s World Cup with England later this year and has also turned out for the likes of Arsenal and the Portland Thorns.
She will line up for the upcoming National Women's Soccer League season alongside several of her former Melbourne City teammates at Seattle Reign, and says she has been impressed at how the game has shot to prominence Down Under.
“Women’s football in Australia has really come a long way,” she said. "I [originally] played in the league a long time ago, when it was more semi-professional. But they’ve done an incredible job of gaining more support.
“The success of the national team has really grown the game. Now they’re one of the favourite sports teams in the country, they sell-out stadiums and they’re hosting a lot more games now as it used to be hard to get teams over to Australia.
They really are the nation’s golden girls. It’s been kind of cool to see their journey with the game growing, as it is in England and a lot of other countries.
“It’s really pleasing to see how Australia really has got behind them.”
Tackling the world's best
Ante Milicic’s Westfield Matildas take on the might of the USA on Friday (kick-off 12:30pm AEDT), and Taylor knows that playing against the world No.1 is sure to be a test for the Green and Gold.
“The US are without doubt one of the most successful teams, if not the most successful women’s team,” she said.
“The depth they’ve got, the competitiveness of the league over there, the pathways over there really set them up well.
“It’s always a tough game when [England] play them, we always go toe-to-toe with them. We don’t underestimate the US at all – they’re No.1 for a reason.”
Upcoming Match | Westfield Matildas
United States of America vs. Westfield Matildas (international friendly)
Date: Friday, 5 April 2019 (AEDT)
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado
Kick-off: 12.30pm Friday, 5 April 2019 (AEDT); 7.30pm Thursday, 4 April (local); Broadcast: Live in Australia on FOX SPORTS 503 and SBS Television, streamed on theworldgame.com.au