Mentally it has taken a lot out of me, but physically I have improved a lot.
Though she had a year as a reserve goalkeeper at Chicago Red Stars as a teenager, Williams “jumped” at the opportunity to play in Sweden. “Some of the other Aussie girls told me only good things about Sweden. Though when I arrived it was something like minus 24, and when I left Canberra it was 38,” says Williams with a smile in her voice.
“Pitea’s support has been amazing,” says Williams. “They have encouraged me every step of the way and haven’t stopped backing me. I have made some great friends here and been made very welcome.”
*Grand plans *Australia repeated their breakthrough quarter-final appearance at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with another last-eight finish four years later. The Germany 2011 squad was one of the youngest at the tournament and with a new coach at the helm – Dutchwoman Hesterine de Reus – the Matildas are very much in a transition stage.
“We are have a lot of young players coming through which is great, though we still need some experience of course,” says Williams. “Hopefully in the coming years we can really be in medals contention.”
Along with fellow indigenous Australian Kyah Simon, Williams’ journey to Germany was the subject of a television documentary. Williams talks with fondness about Germany 2011, and a return to the world stage - along with becoming an Olympian - are two of her key goals. “The atmosphere in Germany was different, and I’m glad I had that experience,” says Williams. “It sparked a little fire in me and it is definitely something I want to experience again.”