My Best Mate’s A Foot­ball Star

Australian Four Four Two - - CONTENTS - Caitlin Fo­ord and Steph Dhin

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.

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