A good support network helps the Matildas during the World Cup

At the recent Women’s Football World Cup, the Matildas did all of us proud, playing well and upholding Australia’s reputation as a sporting nation.

Behind the scenes, though, there was a lot of pressure on the athletes.

In a recent article for Eternity News, Deputy Editor Ben McEachen spoke with Diana Williams, a pastor in Melbourne who is also the mother of Lydia Williams, goalkeeper for the Matildas.

Like many parents in Australia, Diana has done a lot to enable her daughter’s involvement in sport, and is thrilled to see her excelling in what she loves.

But she’s also careful to spend time counselling and caring for her daughter, amidst the pressure that elite athletes face.

“Lydia and I have had numerous conversations and prayer about the aspects of sport, including the commitment and the determination. Lydia has had two ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] injuries [in her knee] to deal with in her career, as well as [finding] the ability to persevere through all sorts of things such as criticism, despondency, doubt, the constant pressure to do well and the mental fatigue,” Diana told Eternity News.

Lydia is lucky to have such a caring and supportive parent – but that’s not all. Diana says that Lydia “has learned to utilise all the supports around her – the team doctor, the psychologist and close teammates. Also, much prayer from family and Christians around the world.”

As the Matildas played, they all benefited from this extensive support network, which empowered them to do their best on field, and uphold Australia’s reputation off the field.

Providing athletes with a strong support network enables them to perform at another level – something that Lydia Williams and her mum truly appreciate.

Thank you for giving so many Australians, at all levels of sport, the gift of a support network like Lydia’s through sports chaplaincy!