Matildas veteran Lydia Williams to retire from international football after Paris Olympics | Matildas

After five World Cups, six Asian Cups, 103 caps and nearly two decades in a Matildas shirt, Lydia Williams says it is the right time to call time on her international career. One of the most experienced Australian footballers of all time on Thursday announced her intention from retire after the upcoming Paris Olympics – what would be her third Olympic football tournament.

“It’s been a wonderful ride over the last 19 years and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to not only wear the crest and perform for my country, but also to the wonderful memories and fantastic people that I’ve met along the way,” said Williams, who turns 36 next week.

Williams, who made her international debut against Korea Republic in 2005 and joined the elite 100-club against Portugal in 2022 – becoming the first female Australian goalkeeper to do so – said it has been “an absolute honour and privilege to represent my country, my heritage, my sport, my family, and many teammates”.

“After a lot of thought and discussion with my family and friends, now seems like the right time to announce I will be stepping away from international football following the end of the Paris 2024 Olympics,” she said.

“I started in this team as a teenager from Canberra and across almost two decades I never imagined that I would be afforded the opportunity to learn, grow, experience life’s challenges and joys, fight against injustices and be shaped into the person I am today.”

Williams, who recently finished the A-League Women season in between the posts for Melbourne Victory, has played in the best leagues in the world, including the NWSL, the Women’s Super League and Division 1 Féminine. She brings down the curtain on her international career having helped the Matildas to victory at the 2010 Asian Cup and hoping to add a first Olympic medal to her collection at the Games in Paris.

There is no guarantee of a swansong in France for Williams though, with just two keepers expected to be included in Australia’s final Olympic squad of 18. Williams is currently third in the pecking order, having lost the No 1 jersey to Mackenzie Arnold and been leapfrogged by Teagan Micah in recent times.

Instead, the upcoming pre-Olympic friendly against China in Sydney on 3 June could serve as Williams’ farewell game; Football Australia announced on Thursday it would pay tribute to her career at Accor Stadium in the Matildas’ final outing on home soil before they travel to Europe ahead of their opening game against Germany in Marseille.

Williams, a proud Noongar woman, is just the second Indigenous woman after Kyah Simon to have reached 100 apperances for her country, and she has been inducted into the Aboriginal and Islander Sports Hall of Fame. She also won the Deadly Award for Female Sportsperson of the Year in 2006, among many other individual accolades throughout her decorated career.

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FA CEO James Johnson said her influence will be felt for many years to come and that she leaves “an indelible legacy that will inspire future generations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous backgrounds”.

“Lydia’s Matildas’ career is truly iconic, spanning continents and playing generations. She has given so much to this team and to Australian football and will be long remembered as a legend of the modern game. She has influenced the women’s game in a way that will be felt for generations to come.”

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