Leah Blaney, Sally Shipard, Danielle Brogan and Kim Carroll have all recounted their transformative experiences playing for the Young Matildas.
The trio all played together at the 2006 U/20 World Cup and told the FFA podcast about their experiences representing Australia internationally at such a young age.
“I think from the age of 16-20 most of us (Westfield Young Matildas players) have travelled to at least five to ten countries,” Blayney said.
"I think we are very fortunate to have that national team experience at both youth and senior level during that time that opened us not only to football but the rest of the world.”
Brogan, who went on to make seven appearances for the Matildas amidst spells at Notts County, Sydney FC, Adelaide United and Perth Glory, recalled the cultural learning experience of playing for the Young Matildas in Malaysia.
“We had to go to the bank, and we had the t-shirt and the shorts on. The looks we got walking down the street, everyone was just staring at us,” Brogan recalled.
“Young and naïve, we were wondering why everybody was looking at us. Was it because we were Caucasian? Or is it because we were wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and it was [the shorts and t-shirts].”
“It probably taught us respect for other people’s cultures and the way that they lived. I don’t think we were ever disrespectful, but it was just learning a different way of living.”
Questioned about their overseas journies, Shipard was quick to recount Papua New Guinea and the unique political climate the team found themselves in.
“I would say Papua New Guinea was probably the biggest cultural shock in my earlier days with the team and that was probably just through observing society and culture and driving through the streets.
"I remember travelling in the bus with the dudes with the massive guns. I probably haven't seen a gun like that since Papua New Guinea.
"The pitches weren't even pitches...I don't think there was a tuft of grass in sight."