Emerging Matilda Torpey ready to shine in Mexico clash

Anna Harrington |

Kaitlyn Torpey says the friendly with Mexico will be another chance to cement her Matildas spot.
Kaitlyn Torpey says the friendly with Mexico will be another chance to cement her Matildas spot.

Matildas winger Kaitlyn Torpey is within touching distance of achieving an Olympic dream she’s only recently started to believe in.

Wednesday’s friendly against Mexico in San Antonio will be Torpey’s third cap, after two impressive performances against Uzbekistan in Olympic qualifiers.

The 24-year-old went through Australia’s junior national teams but has had to wait to force her way into the senior side.

Kaitlyn Torpey at the squad announcement for AFC Olympic qualifiers.
Junior international Torpey has had to wait patiently for her chance in the Matildas setup. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

“There was a point, maybe the most recent one was at the World Cup when I went and watched some of the games and I realised, ‘OK, I actually really want this’,” Torpey told AAP.

“I mean, I’ve always wanted it but it was a thing that just switched in my brain that I was like, ‘I need this now and I need to push for it’. 

“So that whole off-season I worked so hard to get to where I am. 

“I improved physically a lot because of it, so when the chance came I was ready for the step up.”

Torpey played her first two games for her country in the No.20 jersey normally worn by injured skipper Sam Kerr.

She impressed on debut, then scored her first goal and had a hand in three others in her second game.

Kaitlyn Torpey.
Kaitlyn Torpey fitted right in to Sam Kerr’s No.20 jersey in the Olympic qualifiers with Uzbekistan. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

“(Kerr) left a comment on one of the photos that the Matildas posted which got a lot of traction – she just said, ‘Congrats on the debut and what a number to wear’,” Torpey said. 

“That was pretty cool.”

Former Melbourne City gun Torpey has had a few cool moments amid a “whirlwind” six weeks.

Before her Matildas debut, she signed with US National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) club the San Diego Wave for an A-League Women record transfer fee.

She now counts US stars Alex Morgan and Naomi Girma among her teammates, and highly rated English coach Casey Stoney as her mentor.

“Casey is one of the best coaches in the female game in the world,” Torpey said.  

“She’s been incredible and I’m really excited to work more under her. 

“Every single player on our team, whether they’re a national team player or a regular in the NWSL, it’s quality everywhere, and the opponent’s the same. You’re always up against someone with quality.

“That’s why I went – I wanted to push myself to the next level and get to that standard.”

Alex Morgan.
US superstar Alex Morgan (left) is now among Torpey’s teammates at San Diego. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Torpey is renowned for her workrate and determination to improve.

“Of course, I want to try and cement my spot (with the Matildas) and make a name for myself in this team,” she said. 

“But I’m just really excited to learn off these quality players and quality coaches around me – same with San Diego. 

“I’m so excited to improve as a player and learn.”

The next step on that path comes in the shape of world No.31 Mexico, who recently beat the US.

“I’ve watched a lot of them and they’re a really quality side,” Torpey said.

“They’re very aggressive in pressing and a few different things – and they beat the US.

“So they’re a quality side and it’s going to be a really fun challenge for us.”

AAP