My Matildas Story: Gema Simon - 'We didn't have a lot of money growing up. My family sacrificed a lot'
Gema Simon says the sacrifices her family made to overcome financial challenges and make her Matildas dream a reality have strengthened her resolve to make every FIFA Women's World Cup moment a memorable one.
France 2019 will be the Newcastle Jets defender's first trip to the game's greatest event, but 28-year-old Simon has not forgotten her humble beginnings.
Indeed, the adversity has only given the left-back a greater appreciation for the heights her career is now reaching, with 11 international caps to her credit as the World Cup beckons.
"It's been quite a difficult road," Simon said.
"To be honest I was not sure I was ever going to make it to this point, but I'm really grateful to be here now and to have this opportunity.
We didn't have a lot of money growing up and my family sacrificed a lot.
"I was probably 12 years old when I had a tournament in Melbourne. My family didn't have enough money to fly so we packed up the car and drove from Newcastle to Melbourne. We stayed in a hotel and it was amazing just to spend time with my family.
"Little things like that have always motivated me to be better and to keep working.
"It doesn't matter what you have or what you don't have, it's football and anyone can do it."
Watch the full interview with Gema Simon in the video at the top of the page.
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World Cup France 2019™ – Group C – Australia Matches
Australia v Italy
Date: Sunday, 9 June 2019 (AEST)
Venue: Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes
Kick-off: 9.00pm AEST (1.00pm local time, same day)
Australia v Brazil
Date: Friday, 14 June 2019 (AEST)
Venue: Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier
Kick-off: 2.00am AEST (6.00pm local time, Thursday 13 June)
Jamaica v Australia
Date: Wednesday, 19 June 2019 (AEST)
Venue: Stade des Alpes, Grenoble
Kick-off: 5.00am AEST (9.00pm local time, Tuesday 18 June)
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