Early this morning Clare Polkinghorne made her 100th appearance for the Matildas in the Algarve Cup against Portugal.
While Polkinghorne joins the Matildas 100 club alongside Lisa De Vanna, Cheryl Salisbury, Joey Peters, Heather Garriock and Anissa Tann, she also becomes the first player to reach 100 games for both her club and country.
To celebrate this milestone The Women’s Game with the help of Clare’s family have put together the small story of her football career.
There is no doubt Clare loves the game as much as she did back when she began playing with her older brother, Liam, in the under 6 football team at Wynnum Wolves.
As a five-year-old, she was too young to register for the team so her dad, who was the team manager, would always put her on for the last five minutes of the game and from that moment Clare fell in love with sport.
She was the only girl playing when she was five and was still the only girl until she was an 11-year-old.
From the first training session, Clare hated to be late; in fact, she is late if she isn’t at training 15 minutes prior to it starting.
For Clare being on time showed respect and commitment to her coaches and teammates.
While growing up Clare had never really heard of the Matildas and it wasn’t until she was a teenager she realised she could represent Australia.
Unfortunately, there was no clear path for Clare to a professional Australian women’s league.
The Women’s National Soccer League folded in 2004, which left players playing in their local leagues or academy squads but her dedication to the sport and to be the best she could be despite all the barriers, showed how truly passionate Clare was about football.
Her family would say one of her best qualities is that Clare has always known her strengths and weaknesses and has never tried to be something she isn’t.