Family, friends join celebration of Alanna Kennedy's 100th game

Alanna Kennedy with her family in the stands behind her. Picture: Alanna Kennedy/Facebook
Alanna Kennedy with her family in the stands behind her. Picture: Alanna Kennedy/Facebook

Rosemeadow's own Alanna Kennedy played her 100th game for the Matildas at the weekend - and she did so wearing the captain's armband.

A proud product of south-west Sydney, Kennedy's family and childhood coaches were a massive part of her journey to football success.

"It feels so good to be back home after such a long time away," Kennedy told Ten after the 3-1 victory against Brazil on Saturday, the Matildas' return to home soil.

"It's so much more special for me too being my 100th.

"I'm so proud of the girls' performance and I thank the crowd for their energy tonight."

An emotional Kennedy thanked her family, who she was able to see in the crowd from a distance after the match, for all their support.

"I love them to pieces, I love them so much," she said.

"I'm emotional just having seen them for the first time in around 15 months. They've been such a huge part of my journey in getting to 100 games."

The Matildas produced a pair of spectacular videos featuring messages of support and stories from the former Westfields Sport High student's nearest and dearest ahead of her big game.

"You know what I always say, score me a goal," dad Steve Kennedy urged his daughter.

Brother Daniel Hoare said the veteran Matilda never failed to bring the family pride.

"You always do us proud every single time you go out to represent Australia," he said.

He encouraged his sister to continue her "long ball distribution, because that's one of your biggest strengths".

Even Alanna's niece and nephew Chloe and Chase Hoare said they were so proud of their aunt and missed her greatly during her long stretches overseas in the past few years.

Childhood coach Craig Harris, now found at Oran Park Public School, said the number 14 represented her "family and our state with proud" and said she'd "always been a striker" in his eyes.

He said he picked Alanna as a talent way back in 2004 when she trialled for a south-west team.

"She stood our straight away," Harris said.

"I'm proud of the person she's become and her achievements. Now my job is to try to find another Alanna Kennedy, which is proving quite difficult."

Stephanie Kennedy, Alanna's mum, recalled a nine-year-old Alanna declaring she wanted to represent the Olympics in athletics or football or both.

Sister Kayla Kennedy said she, Alanna and their brother used to play soccer in their yard "every day until the sun went down".

"Often it was me and her one-on-one," she said.

"I like to think I helped her with the confidence because she flogged me all the time."

Further messages came from her teammates, including Hayley Raso ("we've come a long way from when we debuted together in 2012"), Caitlin Foord ("back in the day we used to race in athletics, and you got me this time, first to 100"), Sam Kerr ("here's to 100 more") and Emily Van Egmond ("there's no better way to be able to do it than in Sydney in front of your friends and family").