She’s the teenager with the world at her feet and a Women’s World Cup on the horizon – and for Mary Fowler and her family, it’s hopefully just the start of a long, fruitful and trophy-laden career with the Matildas.
At 16 years of age, Fowler is in line to become Australia’s youngest ever player at a World Cup after earning a spot in coach Ante Milicic’s 23-strong squad for next month’s tournament in France.
It caps an incredible rise from almost total obscurity for Fowler, who made her senior international debut last year at 15 and was hailed by then-coach Alen Stajcic as one of the most gifted young players he’d seen in the women’s game. That assessment is shared by Milicic, who insists he has picked Fowler on current ability – not on potential.
For Australian football, it’s a massive relief. There were fears Fowler would be lost to the Matildas late last year when her father, Kevin, blocked her from a call-up for a pair of friendlies against Chile to have her train in England with Cristiano Ronaldo’s former sprint coach, Mick Clegg, while she trialled with European clubs.