As we celebrate International Women's Day and Women's Football Week, it's timely to consider this. If a girl has never seen women participating in sport, it will be virtually impossible for her to imagine playing herself.
Madi Blakey is a young female football fan and keen player who sees Matildas striker Michelle Heyman as one of her role models.
"I started to really cheer for her when I saw her playing for Canberra United against Sydney FC and she was keeping the ball from their players in the corner and they were getting really frustrated and kept kicking the ball out.
"Now we go to every Canberra United home game to see her play," says Madi.
"She smiles when she is playing so she really enjoys the game. She talks to everyone when she signs things. She stands out from the rest and is happy just being herself.
"She gives it her all when she is on the field She is really passionate about football.
"My local role models are my Mum and Dad, my sister Sara and brother Lachie, Ross my football coach and Mr Kelly my year 3 teacher.
"Mum cares for everyone and always puts family first and Dad always comes to watch my football games and he gives me great advice."
The Westfield Matildas striker knows she is a role model and it's something she truly embraces.
"Knowing that children see me as a role model is something I’m truly motivated by. I love it!
"If in any way I can contribute to the happiness of others, through my efforts with football, then that’s everything I can hope for. I want to be a great role model, both on and off the field.
“As a child I found Cathy Freeman’s efforts inspiring, and now as an adult, Ellen Degeneres represents everything I would like to be, I want to stay true to myself. She exemplifies that.
“Something new every day inspires my ambitions with football. Friends, family, team mates, and supporters… It's more about my connections in everyday life," says Heyman.