- Yana Kyparisis won France 2019 Final tickets via #myFIFAWWCshirt contest
- The Australian works in the game and is a passionate player and supporter
- She reflected on “an experience like no other”
Yana Kyparisis loves her football. When she set her alarm for the small hours on the morning on 23 June, it was simply to indulge that passion. Following the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ action from Australia wasn’t always easy, after all.
“The 9pm kick-offs in France started at 5am for us so, yeah, I needed to get up pretty early. But I’m a huge football fan and I’d been loving the Women’s World Cup, so it was worth it,” she told FIFA.com.
Yana didn’t expect any reward, beyond the enjoyment of watching the last-16 action, for such dedication.
But as she climbed drowsily out of bed and switched off her alarm, the Matildas fan noticed a Twitter notification. It was a direct message from @FIFAWWC, the tournament’s official account, informing her that she had won a trip for two to the France 2019 Final.
“That message came in at 4am for me, and it was the first thing I saw. It was crazy. I went straight in to wake up my dad and tell him, ‘I think I’ve just won a trip to France!’ He thought it couldn’t be legit, and I wondered myself at first.”
It might have seemed too good to be true, but it wasn’t. Yana had been selected as the winner of the #myFIFAWWCshirt contest, which had asked Twitter and Instagram followers to submit photos of themselves in their team’s shirt, showcasing the name and number.
“I never normally enter competitions and I think I must have entered this one quite late,” said the Australian, who works in the media department of Melbourne City FC. “I just saw the Matildas share it and thought, ‘Why not give it a go?’
“I have a couple of Matildas shirts, so I got my sister to put one of them on, we chucked the dogs over our shoulders and had our brother take the photo. My brother and sister are huge football fans too and we all play the game – in fact my sister and I play in the same team.
“I’d actually been planning on coming to the Women’s World Cup anyway. But I got a full-time contract at work in January that meant I couldn’t take all the time off. I was pretty disappointed at the time to be missing it - but it worked out amazingly well in the end!”
Yana’s only dilemma was over which of her siblings to pick to accompany her. Fortunately, all three were ultimately able to attend, with an extra ticket acquired and her brother sourcing flights independently.
But even before the thrill of attending women’s football’s showpiece fixture, Yana enjoyed some amazing experiences.
First, she met and enjoyed a lengthy informal chat with Sarai Bareman, FIFA’s Chief Women's Football Officer, Luis Vicente, FIFA’s Chief Digital Transformation & Innovation Officer and an icon of Australian football: Tim Cahill. That meeting was captured in the image above, with Yana joined by Hai Tan Le, winner of the prototype track in FIFA’s hackathon.
Later, the Matildas fan and her siblings were surprised with a tour of the Stade de Lyon, and were able to watch close up as the USA and Netherlands players arrived for the biggest game of their lives.
“I can’t thank the team at FIFA enough for the incredible experience we’ve had,” she later enthused. “They’ve gone above and beyond to create a trip that we will never forget.
“The whole matchday experience was like no other, and the Final itself was simply breathtaking. I’ve been to a lot of big sporting games in my life - but nothing quite like this one.”