It’s this easygoing attitude that has likely helped Fowler keep a level head during her meteoric rise through the ranks. She was just 15 when she was hand-picked by veteran coach Alen Stajcic – who called her the “most talented female player” he’d ever seen – to make her national debut with the Matildas during the 2018 Tournament of Nations.
And despite not making it on the field for the 2019 World Cup, Fowler says her experiences with both the Matildas and her time with international clubs Montpellier HSC and Manchester City in the years since has got her ready and raring for the upcoming tournament.
“I’ve changed quite a bit as a person and certainly my footballing career has moved forward. So I think in that sense, I feel more prepared because I know more who I am and I know how I play and I know the value I can bring to the team,” she shares. “I definitely feel a lot more cemented in my role [with the team].”
Unlike some of her older counterparts, Fowler came into the squad at a time when women’s sports in general were already seeing tremendous growth and progress. “I’m just super lucky that I’ve stepped into that footballing world at this time when there’s so much opportunity,” she agrees.
Not only is the women’s side getting more funding, but the sport is also seeing more support and attention from the public. So much so, that Fowler took part in a recent Disney+ doco-series, Matildas: The World at Our Feet, which gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at the team preparing for the World Cup.
“I think a big part of the message and our team is about inspiring the next generation … it’s part of our culture and the legacy we want to leave behind,” she says of the series. “I also think it’s nice to be able to show the non-football sides of things, and to be able to get the chance to show people who you are off the field.
“I think that’s really important for people to understand, that you’re not just an athlete,” Fowler adds.
“It’s a really nice chance for us to kind of, not break stereotypes, but just be more genuine about what being a footballer is, and the ups and downs that come with that. And the sacrifices that we make to be where we are, but also all the joy that comes with doing what we do.”
Those sacrifices have been hard for Fowler, who spent three years apart from her close-knit family after the pandemic hit while she was overseas playing in France.
“It is quite difficult to be away from home at a young age,” she admits. “Looking back and seeing my younger siblings grow up and go from being kids to teenagers, and then finishing high school when I was not there for any of it … it’s something that everyone has to sacrifice that’s in our team because most of us play overseas.”
And while all eyes will be on Fowler as she hits the field in the semifinals, she’s keeping her eyes on the prize.
“Being able to see the amount of opportunity that I have around me … I think that kind of just shows me how lucky I am to be here. And I’m super grateful for that,” she adds. “That takes away the pressure for me because I’m just like, you know, I’m here. I’m this age. I have so much ahead of me and I don’t need to get bogged down by what other people are saying.”