Football quite simply is life for All Age Women’s 42-year-old attacking star Helen Matheson.
Proudly playing the world game in the Football St George Association for Connells Point Rovers’ All Age Women’s side on Sunday’s as well as the Association’s latest craze, its Over 30 Women’s social competition on Fridays for Lugarno FC, its plain to see, Football is a way of life for the mother of three.
If that’s not enough, Summer Football has also been added to her list, playing for Lugarno FC under the sun.
“I just love the game so much,” said Matheson.
“Football is very special because it connects and unites people from all walks of life, backgrounds and ethnicities.
“For me, football has been and still is such a big part of my life.
“I remember first going to the old NSL matches as a 5-year-old in the mid-80s with my old man. St George Stadium was the local and I supported Sydney Olympic. The atmosphere and buzz of the local derbies during the 80s/90s against Marconi, Sydney United and South Melbourne are still just as vivid now.”
Matheson, like every other grassroots footballer, started kicking a ball as soon as she could walk.
From then it was football every weekend with her father and brother before she made the NSW Institute of Sport as well as St George representative sides in the 90’s.
“I feel like I have been playing it for decades.
“I started kicking a football around since I was a toddler.
“I first got into playing for an actual team at around 12 years old with the Beverly Hills FC. I then played for the NSW Institute of Sport and St George back in the 90s in the old NSW Women’s State Leagues as a teenager and into my early 20s which I loved.”
As is the case for many enjoying the game, there comes a time in your journey that life gets the better of things and this was the case for the mad Tottenham Hotspurs fan who, during her 20’s, decided to unfortunately call it quits.
“I quit pretty early in my 20’s due to work, travel and then family commitments. I was out of the game as a player for nearly two decades.
“My oldest daughter Zoë started playing in 2018 and she was one of the reasons I decided to get back on the pitch.
“Another influence would be my fabulous teammate Lisa Zammarrelli Da Silva who is also the women’s coordinator for Connells Point Rovers FC. She kept on bugging me to join the women’s team for years, so I finally took the challenge, and the rest is history.
“My first year of club football after decades off was in 2020 for the Connells Point Rovers All Age Womens team and we won the Premiership and Grand Final which made it extra special for me.”
Seeing the female football game, grow, prosper and develop ever since Matheson got involved in the 90’s has been a breath of fresh air for someone that was involved in Community and Representative football in the 90’s.
“It’s so special to see how far the women’s game has progressed and evolved. It has grown so much over the last few decades and it is amazing to see all the opportunities available for young female football players now.
“Back in my time, there weren’t any girls only teams at junior Under 10 level, you had to play with the boys and then with the All-Age Women at 13.
“My advice to any females wanting to play is just do it. Get onto the football field and have fun.
“Whether you are 6 years old or 50, it is never too late to start playing the world game.”
Summer Football, one of Football NSW’s newest initiatives also caught the attention of Matheson who wanted to prolong her thirst for football beyond the winter months.
“Summer Football has been a brilliant concept developed by Football NSW.
“I have been playing that for two-years now in the Football St George area with Lugarno FC and have loved every second of it.
“Playing two matches a week is perfect for keeping fit and ready for the Winter Football season so I’d be encouraging anyone to get involved today.”
Set to follow in their mother’s footsteps, Helen stated there was only one sport that her kids were going to play.
“Like they had a choice (laughs)
“Zoe, who is now 10 has been playing for four-years with Connells Point Rovers and Ava (7) played a few years ago and will play in 2022. My youngest Oliver (4) will be playing very soon too. Coaching for me is the next step once I decide to hang up the boots as a player.”