As Caitlin Foord heads to her third FIFA Women's World Cup in France next month, she recalls her time as a mischievous teenager at her maiden tournament.
It was Germany 2011 and at just 16, the Shellharbour native was headed to her first World Cup. Foord was part of a group of teenagers in the 23-player squad under then Matildas coach Tom Sermanni.
Her friends Sam Kerr along with Emily van Egmond and Teigen Allen were also in Germany and half a world away from their home at one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
Reflecting on that time, Foord spoke to her NWSL club Portland Thorns in their Les Portraits series about the mischieve she got up to but also how 2011 changed her football journey.
“We had our little group,” she said.
“We would be out finding new things and just not trying to get into trouble but normally we'd find ourselves in a little bit of trouble, just wanting to explore and being 16 in a different country, it was always fun to get out and try to find new things.”
There was one occasion when the Matildas were doing a recovery session at a theme park where there were rides and more importantly diving boards. Kerr and Foord were really into doing backflips at the time so decided to climb to the top diving board and do some backflips.
“We had already done a backflip and were going up to do it again and we'd just seen our physio screaming from the other side and yelling at us to get down. And as she was coming closer, as she was coming screaming, we just did get a backflip off," Foord said.
“We did find ourselves in a lot of trouble, because we were at a World Cup and could have got injured, easily but being that age, we thought we were unstoppable and could do anything.”
In Germany, Foord won Best Young Player and claimed the same honour from the AFC later that year before she was named her confederation’s Women's Player of the Year in 2016. She would learn about the honour while holidaying in Croatia but instead of flying back to accept her award in person, Foord stayed where she was.
“I found out over Facebook and I was like, ‘Cool.’ (I) just wanted to go back out and enjoy my holiday in Croatia,” she said.
However, while she has different feelings about the situation, that's a blessing about being young, you take things as they come and enjoy the moment. For Foord, the whole World Cup was a moment which would change her footballing pathway.