SPARE a thought for Australian Matildas defender Caitlin Cooper.
As more than 32,000 fans clicked through the turnstiles at two different venues in three days, Cooper was left to appreciate the moment from the background.
But the 29-year-old wouldn’t have it any other way – she’s not the type of person to make something about herself.
Instead, she preferred to see it from a general perspective as the growth of women’s sport continues to skyrocket.
“Australians love winners so they can see that we do play great football and it does help that we are winning,” she said.
“We’ve just got to keep it that way and hopefully attract more attention.”
Cooper had a front-row seat in Penrith on September 16 and again in Newcastle on September 19 and said it had been a surreal experience to see the crowd figures swell in size.
“It’s crazy to see the shift in female football at the moment,” she said.
“We were rocking up to the stadium and saw so many people there; we never thought we would attract this much attention.
“It’s exciting times for women’s football and it would have been nice to get on the field, but I’m happy for the team.”
Cooper’s last performance in the green and gold was against the United States in the Tournament of Nations in Brazil last month.
The former Wauchope junior admitted trying to force her way back into the team was a challenge, but she wasn’t going to give up without a fight.
“It is challenging mentally where you’re doing all the training sessions, but the coach has his set team and I’m happy to be a part of the squad,” she said.
“It makes me want to become a better player, have a strong W-League and hopefully be a part of the next Asian Cup qualifiers.”
With Australia set to make a bid for the Women’s World Cup in 2023, Cooper was happy to be the quiet achiever.
She was comfortable with her own ability to let her football do the talking.
“It’s the type of person I am, I don’t like to make a big deal of anything so I’ll do what I do, but I don’t want to cause any issues,” she said.
“I’m a real team player and love to be a part of the current Matildas setup and help the girls who are on the team.
“I have to keep training and playing how I have been and hopefully I’ll get that starting position back. I’m happy for the team that we are going so strong.”
Cooper isn’t looking any further ahead than doing what she can to be involved in the Matildas upcoming games against China in Melbourne.
“I’ll hopefully be in the squad for the upcoming games in November,” she said.
“I’m proud to be part of the Matildas setup at the moment and want to keep rising to the top with these girls.”