Tuesday, June 18, 2024

‘Pinch me moment’: Matildas star honoured with a 14-metre mural in her home town of Wollongong

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As she prepares for her third Olympics, Matildas star Caitlin Foord has been immortalised in a 14-metre-high mural in her home city of Wollongong.

“It’s insane — a bit of a pinch-me moment, super proud,” Foord said.

“I’m really happy with it and it is just an honour to be up there.”

Standing in front of the mural at its unveiling on Tuesday, Foord said she was delighted with the likeness.

“It looks exactly like me. She really summed me up in one picture.”

Members of her family including her nan, mother and sister were part of the launch.

“This moment is just as special for them as it is for me. They’ve been along for the journey too, and it’s a piece of all of us up there,” Foord said.

Artist Claire Foxton puts the finishing touches on the mural.(ABC Illawarra: Kelly Fuller)

The painting by local artist Claire Foxton captures the lightness of Foord’s movement on the field, using abstract silhouettes suggesting the energy of her movement.

The mural also includes Peach, Foord’s 11-year-old dog.

“Peach has been with me through this whole journey, and it only fits that she’s up there too,” Foord said.

Hometown hero

The 29-year-old Matildas striker and Arsenal winger started her football career in the Illawarra, playing with junior clubs in Warilla and Albion Park before going to Illawarra Sports High and being selected for the Illawarra Stingrays.

Foord said she hoped the mural provided inspiration to young players in the region.

“For any young boy or girl around the Illawarra area, every time they walk into the mall they will have that there now, and be able to dream big and think why can’t that be me as well one day,” she said.

“When I was younger I didn’t have something like that to look at, so yeah, it is huge to have that and for kids to dream big.”

Shopping centre Wollongong Central commissioned Foxton to paint the portrait.

Two women and a pet in front of a painting of one of the women.

Foord (left) and her dog Peach with Foxton.(ABC Illawarra: Penny Burfitt)

Foxton said she was proud of the mural she had created.

“I wanted to reflect her dynamic style of play, so I blended iconic images of her in action — kicking the ball, celebrating a goal — into abstract silhouettes,” she said.

“These elements, layered together, encapsulate her movement and spirit.”

Foxton said while she was creating the mural, she was thrilled to see many young local girls coming to have a photo alongside it, wearing their Matildas jerseys.

Young woman in front a mural of herself.

Foord says she is honoured to have her likeness used in the mural.(ABC Illawarra: Penny Burfitt)

Preparing for Paris

With the Paris Olympics on the horizon, Foord said she felt relaxed and was enjoying time with family and friends.

“But it’s in the back of my mind. I’m really excited to start preparations and get the hard work in,” she said.

“We’ve got a tough group ahead of us and it will be one game at a time. 

“I just want to be at my best, help the team, and hopefully we can push through all the way.

“It’s every Olympian’s dream to medal.”

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