It may have taken far too long, but we’ve finally reached a point where big hitters are paying attention to the incredible talent of Australia’s female athletes. One such big hitter is Disney+, who recently premiered its new six-part series Matildas: The World at Our Feet.
The series follows Australia’s very own women’s national football team as they make their journey towards the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
This isn’t the first time that Disney+ has shown some love for women’s sports in Australia. Just last year, it released a similar docuseries about the AFLW called Fearless: The Inside Story of the AFLW.
It’s truly incredible to see such a large company give local athletes the platform that they deserve.
To learn about the series and about the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup, Lifehacker Australia had the privilege of chatting with Ellie Carpenter and Emily Gielnik of the Matildas.
Having the world at the Matildas’ feet
Given the fact that the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup is being played on home soil, it truly does seem like the world is at the Matildas’ feet right now.
So we asked them what that means.
“I think that anything is possible. When we have the opportunity, you can see how much people can grow and how much we get at stadiums at games,” Carpenter said. “It’s endless opportunities for women’s football if you give an opportunity and invest.”
“Exactly what Ellie said, the opportunities are endless and we want to showcase how far the Matildas have come and how far we really can go … the world is our oyster,” Gielnik added.
Inspiring Australia through the series
Documentary series like Matildas: The World at Our Feet not only inspire younger generations of footballers but they spur on people throughout the nation to rally behind a team full of incredible athletes.
For Carpenter and Gielnik, having a platform like Disney+ fills them with the hope that it can rally people around the Matildas as they head towards the World Cup.
“It was surreal to be able to look back and see [the series is] going to be a pre-World Cup feature which has the ability to inspire the nation and really get behind us,” Gielnik said.
“So for me, it was really, really exciting but I am just excited to see how many people it’s going to inspire to support us at probably one of the biggest events in football history in Australia.”
Carpenter also hopes that Disney+’s platform can bring some positive change.
“It’s really cool that such a big company like Disney wanted to put us on their (sic) platform leading into the World Cup. It’s great for visibility, and like Emily said, a lot of people can now get behind us and hopefully we will inspire them through this documentary.”
Another reason why a docu-series like Matildas: World at Our Feet are important is because it humanises the players and gives us a closer look at their lives off-field.
For Gielnik, the series excites her because it shows how far the younger Matildas can go.
“We’re growing, and it’s just exciting to see. More for Ellie than me because of our age, but where the future women’s football is gonna go, it’s such a promising exciting future for Ellie,” Gielnik said.
“For me, I’m just helping pave the way of where the generation is going but it’s still thrilling to be a part of it.”
With so many upcoming matches with so many talented international teams, we were interested to see what the Matildas’ dream World Cup match would be. Gielnik and Carpenter were in agreement on which team they were hoping to go up against.
“I’m gonna say [The United States of] America only because we lost the bronze medal to them in the Olympics. I felt like we deserved so much more that day and it’s kind of like a redemption match for us,” Gielnik said.
“I would say U.S.A. as well, because they are world number one so it’s a great battle against them. We want revenge from the Olympics,” Carpenter added.
Who inspires the Matildas?
We talk a lot about how the Matildas inspire younger generations, but who inspires them?
Turns out, it’s each other.
“If I’m speaking honestly, it’s more about the future. It’s what Sam [Kerr] was able to accomplish and being a part of her journey was incredible,” Gielnik said.
“I might be being biased here, but Ellie is the future of women’s football with just how inspirational she’s been as a young player – to prove to other young players at 15 and 16 that you can get to where she’s going.”
“When I was growing up, I had no individual person… and I still don’t,” Carpenter said. “It’s really nice to be a part of a team that’s inspiring others as well and [having] people in the team inspiring you.”
What would you say to young footballers?
Speaking of inspiring others, it’s always nice for younger footballers to get words of wisdom from those they look up to and strive to be like.
Both Carpenter and Gielnik shared with us some nuggets of advice to help younger footballers both on and off the field.
“I never grew up with any good coaches, I wasn’t a skillful player, but what I had was that willing and burning desire to be a professional athlete one day,” Gielnik said.
“Train more than your friends, be the first one there and the last one to leave and never give up on your dream. Just dare to dream and just be dedicated to your sport [and] there’s no heights that can’t be reached,” Gielnik added.
“Hard work is probably the most important thing. If you don’t work hard, you probably won’t get anywhere and you have to make a lot of sacrifices. For me, one thing I always hold myself to is at every game just be the best out there and give the coach nothing [bad] to say,” Carpenter said.
All six episodes of Matildas: World at Our Feet are streaming now on Disney+.