With a famous footballing father, Westfield Matildas midfielder Emily van Egmond never had to look too far if she needed any advice on the challenges of international football. Dad Gary was always happy to oblige.
“There’s times he likes to give me advice…sometimes I like to hear it, sometimes I don’t,” Emily van Egmond told www.matildas.footballaustralia.com.au.
“But he’s been massive in my career, a big influence for sure.
“I’m very fortunate to have someone involved in my family that’s been at such a high level. I know I can trust his opinion because he’s speaking from experience and just trying to help.
“It’s been massive for my development. I’ve been lucky to have a very supportive family who have been there every step of the way and will be cheering me on in Canada as well," said Emily, a recent winner at the Westfield W-League awards.
Gary not only coached Newcastle Jets to the Hyundai A-League title in 2008 but had a playing career which included 15 caps for the Socceroos.
But growing up in the Hunter, van Egmond was lucky enough to have a few role models to look up to.
Former Skipper Cheryl Salisbury and ex-midfielder Jo Peters were two that really resonated with a young Emily.
“I remember watching the 2007 World Cup and thinking I would love to play in a World Cup and be where those girls are,” she said.
“I worked extremely hard towards that and I was fortunate enough to get the call-up last World Cup and I’m looking forward to this one as well.
“Cheryl scored that late goal against Canada and that was a pretty big moment in women’s football in Australia.
“It was one of the turning points and Cheryl’s been a great role model for many young girls growing up.”
Emily has gone on to forge her own impressive playing career and will no doubt be a key member of the Matildas side at the upcoming tournament in Canada.
While outsiders are predicting Alen Stajcic’s side to struggle to progress from a group which includes USA, Sweden and Nigeria, internally the Matildas are dreaming big.
They aren’t getting carried away with reputations, focused solely on getting the best out of themselves.
“A lot of people are calling it the ‘group of death’ but at the end of the day we can only go over there and control what we can control and that’s us,” van Egmond said.
“Any opening game of any tournament is going to be massive but whatever the result is there’s always two games after that.
“There’s always talk about America and a lot of focus on them but you can’t write off the other two as well.
“Nigeria is a bit of an unknown. They are also an extremely dangerous opponent to be coming up against and Sweden has some world-class players.
“If we go to the tournament just thinking about ourselves and play to our strengths I think it’s going to be a massive bonus for us.
“You obviously want to get out of the group stage which is a massive goal for us….anything can happen. We just need to take it one step at a time.”
Van Egmond said Stajcic has implemented a competitive environment in the group for every training session and match, which is sure to hold them in good stead.
“Staj has known a lot of us girls for a number of years now. He’s been in and around the program for a while now so it’s been positive,” she said.
“We’ve got some good results and we’re only going upwards.“We’ve got a lot of depth, especially our strikers which is great and we’ve got a lot of speed that is a massive weapon going to a major tournament.”