They might be Australia’s most beloved sports team, but they were not always known by their instantly recognisable name: up until 1995 the Matildas were known as the Female Socceroos.
Of course, the men’s team was never commonly referred to as the “Male Socceroos” so the name itself was symbolic of the disrespect that women’s football was shown by football authorities at the time.
Second hand training gear, second class pitches, second hand nickname.
There were alternatives at the time, The Lady Socceroos or The Soccerettes but these were hardly an improvement.
Supporters now can be grateful that there were people at the Australian Women’s Soccer Association who took the initiative to find a new name for the team.
Following the 1995 World Cup, The AWSA combined with SBS television to run a poll, whereby a name would be decided by viewers voting with a “0055” number (kids, ask your parents).
The final five options were, The Soccertoos, Blue Flyers, Waratahs, The Lorikeets and the Matildas, which won in a landslide, and although not everybody was immediately a fan of the decision, it has grown to become one of the most popular brands in Australian Sport.
Many of the national team at that time didn't approve of the nickname - some actively hated it, and the fact it came from a television contest outside their control - and refused to use it for some time.
But while no sporting team nickname is universally approved of, but the Matildas is close to a perfect moniker.
It’s uniquely female, it avoids being condescending or a reference to the men’s side and it is instantly associated with Australia.
As an added bonus it gives supporters a ready-made melody to add their own creative lyrics to sing for the women in the green and gold...
Comparatively, the nickname has more character than any competing country.
Germany’s Die Nationalelf, translates to The National 11 and is not even technically correct (what about the substitutes?).
The Italian and French sides boringly describe the blue shirt color as La Azzurre and Le Blues respectively.
The English “Lionesses” are a strange choice for a country that a quick Google search revealed, shares no wildlife in common with the African savanna.
Some teams compare a little better, The Norwegian Grasshoppers name piques curiosity, Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz is a culturally evocative choice and the U.S team does not have a nickname at all, in a rare case of the side being treated equally to the men by the American football officials.
Today's Matildas fans should be grateful to those who put in the work at the AWSA and those who voted to ensure that we get to cheer on the Matildas instead of the Soccertoos.
Although the team by any other name would still have produced these great moments: