With Stadium Australia as the backdrop and a live Matildas match to savour later in the day, over 40 current and former female professional footballers gathered in Sydney last Saturday to reconnect through the PFA’s Past Players Program.

From trailblazers Julie Dolan and Moya Dodd, through to Sydney FC’s Ally Green and Tayla Ray, players who once represented the Matildas, footballers from the A-League Women’s competition and its precursor, the Women’s National Soccer League, reunited to share stories and watch the Matildas take on the USA in the first of a two-match series on Australian soil.

For many attending, such as Di Alagich, who played for the Matildas on 86 occasions between 1995 and 2008, it represented an opportunity to reconnect with former players.

“It’s really wonderful to bring us all together and I’m seeing faces that I haven’t seen in 10-15 years, so it’s just been wonderful to see past players and to be appreciated as well and looked after in this way,” Alagich told pfa.net.au

“I brought my family along as well and it’s just a wonderful experience and heading over to watch the game.”

Former Matildas captain and female football pioneer Julie Dolan said that the increase in events that reunite former players with the current generation was helping to drive momentum behind the Matildas.

“Days like these are happening more frequently and it’s such a great opportunity to catch up with these players and all of the people who were involved when we played and just to reconnect,” Dolan said. “I think that drives momentum behind the Matildas movement, or the movement that is the Matildas right now.”

PFA Co-Chief Executive Kathryn Gill, herself a former Matilda who earned 86 caps and scored 41 goals for her country, said the event was part of a commitment to honouring past players.

“I think it’s really special to be able to do this; to honour our past players. It’s really important [for them] to connect and reconnect. A lot of these players haven’t seen each other for such a long time. I know it is only a small gesture to be able to organise an event to celebrate their achievements but I think it’s really important; they are a big part of the history of the women’s game.”

You can find out more about the PFA Past Players Program by clicking here.