My Best Mate’s A Football Star
What does a tracky-wearing Matildas star and a “girly” flight attendant have in common? Caitlin Foord and Steph Dihn have been pals since early days at Illawarra Sports High (even if Caitlin was often absent with football). A lot has happened since the right winger burst onto the international scene at 16, winning the Best Young Player Award at the 2011 Women’s World Cup – not all of it good. But even the heartbreak of a tournament-stealing injury has an upside when you’re hanging with your bestie. Is it fair to say you’re polar opposites?
Steph: Like, I couldn’t think of any friends who are more opposite. I’m so girly. Ridiculously. I’ll get my nails done all the time, my hair… Caitlin just shakes her head at me. The first time she ever did dress up, I was so proud. I was like, you’re in make-up! Caitlin: Even in saying that, I had someone help me for the (Dolan Warren) awards. When I wasn’t really getting help, Steph would be the person – I’m like, okay you need to come shopping with me and I’ll just get her to pick everything out for me. Steph: When Cait used to have things like that, she’d always be like, what dress should I wear, do these shoes go with this? I was like her personal assistant [laughs]. Caitlin: And actually since we’ve left school, we’ve become closer. I’m big with people who put in the same amount of effort that I do with them. Steph: My family like adores Caitlin. My nonna , grandma (Steph’s heritage is Italian-Vietnamese), wishes Caitlin was her granddaughter. She watches Caitlin all the time on TV.
Caitlin has gone on to play in Japan and the US and was named the 2016 Asian Women’s Footballer of the Year. Has she changed much?
Steph: So much! She was a wild child like me but doesn’t really party anymore. She takes her career really seriously, not that she didn’t before. But now she’s older she really appreciates how hard she’s worked for it. In saying that, she’s always been herself. It’s pretty much what you see is what you get with Caitlin.
And then came the injury that ruled Caitlin out on the Asian Cup in April.
Caitlin: Yeah it was in the W-League semi-final [playing for Sydney FC] which was obviously huge as well – the big games are the ones you want to play in. It was devastating because I’d had this injury before on the other foot. People were trying to tell me, just stay positive, it might not be that – but you know your body. I knew straight away what I’d done. On the flip side it’s given me more time at home to see family and friends like Steph. I haven’t really had this period of time to be at home for this long in, I can’t remember how long. Steph: It’s sooo long. She’s never been here for my birthday it was so good to have her home for that. Caitlin: People like Steph, they’re not really into soccer. When I see her, it’s sort of like an escape. When I’m with her she’ll ask me how it’s been but she doesn’t really care. Steph Steph: [Laughs] Caitlin: It’s not that it’s a bad thing, that’s what I like. Steph: I definitely do care! But I know Caitlin, I’m not going to be like how’s this, how’s that because Caitlin has to answer that every day of her life.
So Caitlin switched it up and joined the Fox Sports Asian Cup commentary team.
team... Steph: When she told me I was a bit like, what are you doing? But it was good because it kept her involved.
How did you feel about the experience, Caitlin?
Caitlin: I really enjoyed it. I’m shy at the start but once I get to know people, I open up a bit. It kept my mind off not being there and I had to think about other things, going to the studio, getting ready for the game. I had a different role to play.
The Matildas lost the final to Japan 1-0 what do you make of their campaign?
Caitlin: It was a little bit disappointing. The girls, you can ask any of them, weren’t happy with the performances. I think their last game was their best game – they just got unlucky with the final result.
The plate is out of the foot and the next stop is Portland Thorns. Steph do you ever look at Caitlin’s life and think – gee, that’s just completely bonkers?
Steph: I literally say this to my family all the time – there’s no one else can do Caitlin’s life other than Caitlin. We’ll be out together and someone will call her up or want to take photos with her and Caitlin is just so good about it. Other people might say, I’m over this but Caitlin really appreciates it and it doesn’t faze her because this is what she’s committed to. I hands down couldn’t do it.