Mathyssen-Whyman is one of the most promising goalkeepers in Australia, and just one of a flood on indigenous youth coming through the Matildas ranks.

She has a number of indigenous role models to look up to in the Matildas side and her W-League counterparts, but that doesn't prevent the racial abuse that Australian sport has always struggled with.

"In a game I experienced it once when I was quite young, I was 14, with a boys team and I was called a black b****," she told the Daily Telegraph.

"At the time they were giving it to me in the sense of physicality, so I would give it back twice as hard, and I guess they couldn’t take it so they went to vocal abuse. My mum was there always to support me, and she handled most of it for me. 

"The second time was in a W-League game, my first season. No one else really heard. It was a fan from the opposite team yelling at me from the back of the goal – things that weren’t very nice.

"I never really spoke up about it, I didn’t want it to be a thing. I told a few of my teammates who were very supportive around it, but I just wanted to get on with the game."

Dealing with racial abuse at the age of just 14 would be enough to permanently dissuade a teenager from following her professional football dreams.

But it's a testament to Mathyssen-Whyman's maturity that she attempts to understand the insecurity and destructive ignorance that often belies such comments.

"I find that people who are giving abuse are either insecure about themselves in some way, or haven’t been educated in something they don’t understand," she continued.

"For me it’s to be able to realise these people probably don’t know what they’re saying at the time – it just shows their character, that they’re not nice or good people. I don’t need to react to it. Their actions speak for themselves.

"I also experienced some racism when I came up to Sydney from the high school I went to, and I felt so out of place.

"There’s been a fair bit of talk around racism through the A-League and W-League through the last season. Just people knowing what their comments actually do to athletes. I think just people educating themselves around racism and what it does to a person’s mental health and their insecurities, their self-image, saying those things creates an ongoing pattern you don’t even know you’ve done to that person. People need to educate themselves on how to talk to someone – or not even that, just treat those around you how you’d like to be treated."

The 21-year-old is heavily engaged with her culture through relationships with her family and initiatives such as the Share a Yarn program.

She has carefully thought out views on how the Australian game can better engage indigenous youth, and nurture the next generation of Matildas stars like Lydia Williams and Kyah Simon.

"Being able to have young Indigenous players in important programs such as maybe future Matildas, I know Shay Evans who is a JMF superstar and she’s been amazing since she’s come up to Sydney," she said.

"So being in with the Future Matildas, and having the support around when they make W-League or A-League teams, having the support to have that confidence to come in and do media work, are all things that are hugely beneficial.

"The PFA do it really well where they do workshops around media, and from there you’re teaching young kids how to talk about what’s important to them, how to spread the message that they want to spread, and their values.

"I think that’s where it can really grow, onto the pitch, their confidence to be able to communicate, be able to lead and become leaders both on and off the field. It’s important to be one both on and off the field."


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