The Matildas are debatably Australia’s most famous sporting team at the moment. But why are they called the Matildas and where did the name originate from?
When the team qualified for their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1995, it was decided that they needed a nickname and Matildas was the chosen moniker. Their male counterparts have an equally interesting nickname of the Socceroos which came about in 1971.
The origins of the Matildas’ name
Prior to 1995, the team was referred to as “the Female Socceroos” but in a bid to make them sound more appealing to the general public and increase their brand value, SBS and the Australian Women’s Soccer Association ran a viewer competition to find a suitable name for the team.
Five nicknames were in the running including Soccertoos, Blue Flyers, Waratahs, Matildas and Lorikeets with a majority of the people choosing the name Matildas after the song Waltzing Matildas, a popular Australian folk song by AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson which is often regarded as the country’s “unofficial national anthem”. The song talks about a man who travels across the country looking for work with a “matilda” (swag) slung over his back. The name is still used to the day with fans now affectionately shortening it to the Tillies.