Exclusive: Australia and Washington Spirit midfielder Amy Harrison on Matildas 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup experience, talks Aussies support Down Under in Oz

Richie Burke’s Washington Spirit presently stands sixth in the NWSL having taken six points from a possible 15 in their last five NWSL matches. The Spirit’s previous league match away against Houston Dash on September 26 at the BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas witnessed the Spirit draw 0-0; Washington Spirit finished eighth in the NWSL last season.

However, four days prior to the Washington Spirit’s 0-0 stalemate with the Houston Dash on September 26, the Spirit lost 3-1 to the Chicago Red Stars away at the SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois.

A week prior to the Spirit’s 3-1 loss to the Chicago Red Stars, Washington Spirit drew 2-2 with Reign FC on September 15, whilst edging out Orlando Pride in a 2-1 win on August 25 and taking a point from the 0-0 stalemate against Utah Royals on August 22.

At present, North Carolina Courage currently reign on top of the NWSL with 46 points. Meanwhile, second place Chicago Red Stars remain five points apart from North Carolina Courage having lost their last league match. Elsewhere, third place Portland Thorns FC have a two point differential behind second place Chicago Red Stars, whereas fourth place Reign FC remain five points apart from Portland Thorns FC. Fifth place Utah Royals, however, are currently four points ahead Washington Spirit with three games remaining in the current 2019 NWSL season.

Furthermore, North Carolina Courage remain undefeated in their last five NWSL matches, whereas second place Chicago Red Stars have won four of their last five matches. Portland Thorns FC meanwhile have taken nine points from a possible 15 points, dropping six points courtesy of losing two games during this period. Moreover, Reign FC, inspired by USWNT superstar, Megan Rapinoe, remain five points adrift from third place Portland Thorns FC, having gone on a recent unsteady run of form which has seen the Washington-based club take six points from their previous five games.

Elsewhere, Washington Spirit’s remaining 2019 NWSL season fixtures are against: Western New York Flash (Home – September 29), Orlando Pride (Away – October 5) and Portland Thorns FC (October 13).

Before Washington Spirit’s forthcoming home match against Western New York Flash, FOX Sports Radio 96.9 FM/1340AM’s Dean Perretta briefly caught up with 23-year-old Australia and Washington Spirit midfielder, Amy Harrison, to discuss the Matildas performances at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the immense support and pride for the Australia women’s national team down under, coupled alongside life in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C and the Australian midfielder’s thoughts on the exponential growth and popularity of the women’s game post-2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Dean Perretta: Amy, Australia reached the final sixteen of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup before being eliminated by Norway via penalties after Extra Time. With that being said, what is the reaction back home in Australia with regards to the Matildas performances in France?

Amy Harrison: Obviously the Australian public have high standards of the Matildas, as do we, so we obviously hoped to further at the World Cup. Not being in Australia and going straight back to America, I can’t say first-hand what the reaction was like, but I have no doubt there was still a sense of pride towards the Matildas.

Dean Perretta: Australian national treasure and Socceroos legend Tim Cahill was among the many high-profile Aussies who tweeted his support and appreciation of the Matildas after the final sixteen showdown against Norway. What does it mean to receive such praise from such a beloved national hero?

Amy Harrison: It means a lot to receive support and appreciation from legends like Tim (Cahill). The support from everyone on social media was definitely felt amongst the group. Tim has done so much for our country so it definitely means a lot to receive that support from someone like him. 

Dean Perretta: However, in the grander scheme of things, what does the overall success and positive television ratings of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup mean for women’s football in Australia the long-term moving forward?

Amy Harrison: Hopefully positive action! And hopefully more engagement on a regular basis not just the World Cup every four years.

 

Dean Perretta: How would you describe the football philosophy and mentality of Ante Milicic from a players perspective?

Amy Harrison: Ante (Milicic) has been fantastic, everyone has really bought into his mentality and philosophy. His focus is always on us and how we can improve. Tactically he is very, very organized, so I think it’s very positive moving forward with him.

 

Dean Perretta: Lastly, can you talk about life in the United States since joining NWSL side Washington Spirit?

Amy Harrison: I’m really enjoying life in the NWSL with Washington Spirit. It has been challenging from day one and very enjoyable. (Washington) D.C. is a really cool city and the club is awesome. The team and the staff make it really feel like home away from home and I’m definitely learning lots. So I only have positive things to say, although there definitely is a language barrier with our Aussie slang!! Other than that, it’s really great.

Dean Perretta

Dean Perretta is a 2x SEA Award-winning creative, Broadcast Journalist, Reporter, Courtside Analyst for BBC televised London Lions and Executive Producer who currently contributes to FOX Sports Radio, FourFourTwo Magazine and Muscle & Fitness Magazine.