How footballer Hayley Raso is gearing up to represent Australia
Hayley Raso is a force to be reckoned with. At just 24 years of age, the Australian athlete is set to represent the country at the world’s biggest football tournament in Paris this June, before taking to Tokyo in 2020.
A winger for Brisbane Roar in the W-League and Portland Thorns in the NWSL, Raso joined Australia’s national women’s football team, the Matildas, in 2012. While the sports star now finds herself competing at a level only dreams are made of, her route to success was not without its fair share of obstacles.
“I’ve had a lot of setbacks and a lot of people who said I wouldn’t make it,” Raso shared with Vogue. “It’s just about continually proving yourself and working hard. If you have a dream you can reach it,” she added.
In celebration of the team’s success, Nike has honoured the Matildas with their first-ever national team collection, and it’s one that Raso’s proud to take to the pitch wearing. Debuted this April against one of the Matildas’ fierciest rivals, Team USA, the custom kit encapsulates the team’s youth with a truly ’90s aesthetic.
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Made from 100 per cent recycled materials, the kit incorporates a series of features that symbolise what it means to be an Australian athlete, calling on elements of everything from Melbourne’s famous Hosier Lane, and the country’s native flora and fauna, to the Matildas’ famed rallying cry, “Never Say Die”.
“I really love it. I think it’s bold, vibrant and so unique. It represents our team really well because we have those kinds of characteristics,” said Raso, who shared that her favourite piece in the collection is the home jersey. “It’s obviously amazing for us to have our name on the back of something that looks so amazing,” she added.
Raso is eager to join her team mates at upcoming global football tournaments after a triumphant return to the pitch following a 2018 injury that left her with three broken vertebrae.
“That was obviously the lowest point in my career and I think in my life in general,” she remembered, confessing she wasn’t sure if she’d ever be able to walk again, let alone play the sport she’d dedicated the better part of her life to.
“I was in hospital for a month and then I rehabbed for six months, learning to walk again, to basically do everyday activities,” said Raso. “When I ran for the first time, and played for the first time, it was pretty overwhelming for me.”
Crediting her health and wellbeing to a regimented regime, the sports star shares that while she opts not to adhere to a specific diet, “it’s [all about] training every day, recovering right, and making sure your body is fuelled with the right foods so you can train and perform at your peak.”
With two of the sporting world’s largest international events in her sights, and with the Matildas’ currently ranked sixth in FIFA’s world rankings, there’s no denying Raso is ready to hit the ground running in Nike’s custom-designed kit – so be sure to watch this face.