Harding’s CommBank Matildas Call-Up A Dream Come True

Star Wanderers striker Sophie Harding admits dreams of representing her country felt ‘unachievable’ at times.

Speaking after being called up to the latest Australia squad for the upcoming 2024 Olympic qualifiers against Uzbekistan, Harding says she is excited and ready to embrace the opportunity given to her.

“It’s obviously extremely exciting. Something I’ve dreamt about for a really long time. Sometimes it didn’t really seem achievable. So this season has been super important in that, playing a part in that and I’m really excited to just take in as much knowledge as I can and learn as much as I can.”

Harding says she couldn’t help but laugh when she received the news, and discussed sharing it with those closest to her.

“I think I was very overwhelmed. I actually burst out laughing because I was just so shocked in a way and then I think I got a bit teary, and then rang my mum and Robbie (Hooker), and they’re all so excited.”

“It was (a) super important moment for me, and (I’m) still very overwhelmed with emotion.”

Harding has been the standout player in a Wanderers side on the cusp of qualifying for the finals series for the first time since 2020.

She currently has nine goals for the season – the highest in the history of the club – and is currently in a tie for the third top scorer in the competition.

She also has two assists, and has formed a lethal combination with fellow attacker Holly Caspers that has seen the Wanderers embark on an impressive run during the middle of the season.

It has been a long journey to this point for the 24-year-old, and she reflected on the role her late father played and how he would have reacted to the news.

“I think he’d be jumping for joy, I think he always knew that I could do it.

“He motivated me from the age of four – when I look back, that’s 20 years ago, 20 years I’ve dedicated myself to this sport, and he was there for a long part of it.

“For me, I think it’s extremely emotional now that he’s not here, but I know that he’s out there somewhere watching, and I know that he’d be extremely proud of me, so I’m excited to make him proud.”

With the Matildas facing a two-legged clash against Uzbekistan, Harding is looking to learn as much as she can from the elite environment and world class teammates she will be sharing the field with for the next two weeks.

“I think that I’m just gonna go in there super positive, just learn as much as I can from these players,” said Harding.

“They’re some of the best female players in the world, so just playing around them in itself is such a privilege. So I’ll be definitely taking that and learning as much as I can from it.”