As football gets back underway following the COVID-19 shutdown, dozens of current and aspiring Matildas have sought to further their careers overseas.
The rise of Europe on the women's club scene is central to the tidal shift the game is currently experiencing, with most Aussies turning away from the grueling back-to-back Australian W-League/United States NWSL seasons and toward the full winter calendars and fully professional environments offered by some of Europe's biggest leagues in recent months.
ESPN has been tracking the careers of every Australian women's football player overseas and has included them in the list below.
Season start: Sept. 5, 2020
Caitlin Foord: After a series of stellar outings with Sydney FC in the W-League as well as stints in Japan and the United States, Foord became the fifth Australian to move to England's FAWSL after signing for Arsenal in January. She made her debut less than a month later in the FA Cup, scoring in a 2-0 victory to take Arsenal to the quarterfinals set to take place in late September.
Steph Catley: After almost-constant success with Melbourne City in the W-League, Matildas vice-captain Catley reunites with former City coach Joe Montemurro in north London, having signed for the Gunners in July. She made her debut in a loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Women's Champions League quarterfinal in August and will play a big role in Arsenal's upcoming FAWSL league title hunt, especially now that European football is no longer in the cards following the club's third-place finish last season.
Lydia Williams: Completing the "Ausenal" trio is the Matildas' No. 1, Williams, who signed for the club less than a week after Catley. Williams joins Arsenal after a similar back-to-back club career between the W-League and the NWSL, most recently with OL Reign and Melbourne City -- though much of that time has been marked by injury. Following the departure of former Arsenal goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, Williams is likely to find regular playing time in one of the world's top competitions.
Chloe Logarzo: After emerging on the international radar thanks to three impressive campaigns with Sydney FC as well as a player of the match performance against Brazil at the 2019 Women's World Cup, Logarzo cut her 2019-20 W-League season short in January to join the Robins until mid-2021. Having just escaped relegation last season, Aussie manager Tanya Oxtoby will be hoping her new signings can shore up Bristol's midfield and put them on track for their first European appearance.
Ella Mastrantonio: Despite making her W-League debut in the competition's inaugural season back in 2008, Bristol is Mastrantonio's first overseas contract. In the wake of one of her most impressive domestic outings in which she helped Western Sydney Wanderers finish in the top four for the first time in 2019-20, the midfielder reunites with former Perth Glory coach Oxtoby to bring consistency and experience to a young, developing side.
Sam Kerr: Aussies have been playing in Europe for years, but it was arguably Kerr's move to Chelsea in November 2019 that started the wave of Australians seeking permanent opportunities abroad. After stand-out seasons with Perth Glory, Sky Blue FC and the Chicago Red Stars, Kerr's blockbuster 2.5-year signing -- worth reportedly over AU$500,000 per season -- made international headlines and signaled to the world that Europe is the emerging powerhouse of the women's game. She scored her debut goal against Arsenal in January and lifted the FAWSL trophy in June after the COVID-19 shutdown finalised the 2019-20 standings on a points-per-game basis. Kerr also played a part in Chelsea's recent FA Women's League Cup and Community Shield wins, and will be contesting the upcoming Champions League thanks to the Blues' first-place finish last season.
Hayley Raso: Having just returned from a near-paralysing back injury, Australia's comeback queen Raso took many by surprise when she signed for Everton midway through her 2019-20 W-League season with Brisbane Roar. This is Raso's first club outside the Australia/America cycle, having captured the hearts and minds of Portland Thorns fans in her last two seasons in the NWSL. Although she joined the Toffees in January, she has yet to make an appearance due to the pandemic. Everton finished four points outside the top four in the 2019-20 FAWSL season, and manager Willie Kirk will be looking to build upon this positive momentum, especially now that Everton are the only FAWSL team remaining in the city after crosstown rivals Liverpool were relegated.
Alanna Kennedy: Kennedy's absence from Orlando Pride's Challenge Cup playing roster and Sydney FC's 2020-21 W-League squad announcement in early August signaled to Aussie fans that the Matildas centre-back was on the move. Rumours were confirmed in August when Tottenham announced Kennedy's signing on loan from the Pride, with an option for a permanent move next year. After two disappointing seasons in the NWSL followed by a 12th consecutive finals appearance with Sydney FC, Kennedy will be hoping to help Spurs -- who finished mid-table in their first season in the top flight -- to the same European heights as their men's team in recent years.
Mackenzie Arnold: Not content, perhaps, with treading water as the Matildas' second-choice keeper, Arnold has sought to hone her craft in London, signing for the Hammers in July. Off the back of consecutive seasons with Brisbane, but having made no appearances in the NWSL in 2019, Arnold will be hoping the heightened competition provided by the FAWSL -- and internally against Republic of Ireland shot-stopper Courtney Brosnan -- will place her firmly on the Matildas' starting XI radar for 2023.
Jacynta Galabadaarachchi: Before Kerr to Chelsea, there was Galabadaarachchi to West Ham. Tying commentators' tongues in knots on two separate continents now, the Young Matilda signed for the Hammers over a year ago, making the leap straight out of Victoria's National Premier Leagues competition. With 17 appearances to her name so far, the 19-year-old forward will look to use the upcoming FAWSL season as a springboard for senior national team selection.
Emily van Egmond: Like her Orlando teammate Kennedy, Matildas midfielder Van Egmond did not participate in the United States' Challenge Cup after her club withdrew thanks to positive COVID-19 tests. Seeking more stable and competitive game time, Van Egmond is the last Australian to make the jump from the NWSL to Europe, signing for the Hammers in late August on loan. Having already plied her trade in Denmark and Germany, the Matildas' metronome will hope to add more styles and systems to her repertoire as Australia prepare to compete in four major tournaments over the next four years.
French Division 1 Feminine
Season start: Sept. 5, 2020
Laura Brock (nee Alleway): Unlike many of her Matildas teammates, Brock already knew what it was like to play in England, having signed for Lincoln Ladies in 2012. But following stints with Melbourne City, Orlando Pride, and Melbourne Victory, Brock now finds herself seeking new challenges, this time in the north-west of France with EA Guingamp. After missing the 2019 Women's World Cup through injury, Brock is determined to use her European move to rack up significant, injury-free minutes and ensure she doesn't miss the next tournament on home soil.
FC FLEURY 91
Emma Checker: Off the back of her double-winning season with Melbourne City -- where she played every minute and helped record the most clean sheets of any team in the competition -- Checker is continuing her rising form with FC Fleury 91. While the club is yet to challenge the likes of Paris Saint-Germain or Olympique Lyonnais for French league titles, Checker will look to use her first full European season to put herself in contention as Australia's starting centre-back for their four major upcoming tournaments: Tokyo 2021, 2022 Asian Cup, 2023 Women's World Cup, and Paris 2024.
Mary Fowler: Like Galabadaarachchi, young prodigy Fowler made the leap overseas before she'd made any serious impact in her domestic competition. Joining Montpellier HSC in February, halfway through her first W-League season with Adelaide United, the 17-year-old striker is widely regarded as "the next Sam Kerr" due to her natural athleticism and ability in front of goal -- which is perhaps why she has been signed on a multi-year deal. Montpellier finished fourth last season and will be looking to challenge France's "big three" of Olympique Lyonnais, PSG and Bordeaux in upcoming competitions.
Ellie Carpenter: While Kerr's move to Chelsea grabbed the headlines, Carpenter's move to Olympique Lyonnais in June is arguably the biggest of any Australian in the history of the women's game. Having won the French league a record 14 times, the French Cup nine times, and the UEFA Women's Champions League seven times, Olympique Lyonnais are objectively the best team in Europe, if not the world. For the 20-year-old right-back from country New South Wales, the fully professional environment offered by the superstar club will see her quickly become one of the best defenders in the modern game and the heir apparent to England great Lucy Bronze.
Icelandic Urvalsdeild Kvenna
Season start: June 13, 2020
Angie Beard: Having made her W-League debut for Brisbane Roar as a 17-year-old, full-back Beard made a name for herself after three impressive seasons with Melbourne Victory, including securing the club's first Premiership title in 2018-19. Her top domestic form saw her offered her first overseas opportunity with historic Icelandic club KR Reykjavik in July. KR is currently in the relegation zone, so Beard will hope to shore up their defensive line and help the club stay in the country's top flight next season.
Laura Hughes: Touted as one of Australia's most exciting young midfielders, 19-year-old Hughes made her senior W-League debut for Canberra United in 2016, winning the club's Rising Star award in 2018-19. In her first foray into international club football, Hughes signed with mid-table Throttur in May, though has publicly signaled her intent to return to Australia in Iceland's offseason to compete in the W-League.
Spanish Primera Iberdrola
Season start: Sept. 7, 2020
Alex Chidiac: Earning her first Matildas cap as a 16-year-old, Chidiac always had her sights set on a European move. But despite being at Atletico Madrid for two seasons, the midfielder, now 21, has seen only limited minutes through a combination of injury and non-selection. Now into her third season with the former Spanish champions, Chidiac is hoping to bounce back from the ankle injury that kept her sidelined last year and work her way back into the senior Matildas squad ahead of a busy four years.
Aivi Luik: Of all the current senior Matildas, 35-year-old Luik has likely recorded the most frequent-flyer miles after playing in nine different countries over an almost-two-decade career. Her Matildas debut came in 2010 when Australia won their first Asian Cup trophy, but it took nine years for the veteran midfielder to earn her first Women's World Cup appearance, which she received in France under Ante Milicic. Having previously played in Spain with Levante, Luik will look to use her second Spanish stint with Sevilla -- crosstown rivals to Jenna McCormick's Real Betis -- to stay on the Matildas' radar for 2023 and see out her national team career on a high.
Jenna McCormick: From juggling two sports to signing a two-year deal at one of Spain's biggest clubs, centre-back McCormick has had a rollercoaster 18 months. Although her first national team call-up came just last year, the South Australian has been on footballing radars for almost a decade, having made her W-League debut with Adelaide United in 2012. Her Spanish signing will be McCormick's third overseas club, having previously played in Iceland and Norway. Betis finished 12th of 16 clubs last season.
¡Hola, @TheMatildas! 👋🏼😊 Nos gustó tanto vuestra celebración como sede del próximo Mundial, que no hemos podido evitarlo... 😅🆕✍— Real Betis Féminas (@RealBetisFem) July 22, 2020
Hi, @TheMatildas! 👋🏼😊 We liked your celebration for being elected for the World Cup, that we couldn't help it... 😅🆕✍#BetisFéminas pic.twitter.com/09gRv45vTf
Italian Serie A Women
Season start: Aug. 23, 2020
Isobel Dalton: While many Australians are flocking to England, Young Matildas striker Dalton has been there and done that. Having spent five years abroad, including four at a U.S. college and a year with English side Nottingham Forest, Dalton returned home to Brisbane Roar for the 2019-20 W-League season. Her performances got her noticed by Scottish champions Glasgow City, but Dalton instead found herself snapped up by Italian giants Napoli in July, becoming the first Aussie to wear the famous light blue jersey. She's now the only remaining Aussie in Italy's top-flight following the departure of Lisa De Vanna from Fiorentina.
Season start: August 8, 2020
DBK FORTUNA HJORRING
Indiah-Paige Riley: Following two impressive seasons with Brisbane Roar, including a nomination for W-League Young Player of the Year in 2019-20, the 18-year-old striker signed with Danish champions Fortuna Hjorring in August 2020. Carrying on the tradition of Matildas in Denmark (Alison Forman 1992-2005, Emily van Egmond 2011, Elise Kellond-Knight 2011-2012), the Young Matilda will hope to use her first overseas contract to catapult herself into contention for a senior Matildas call-up. As domestic champions, Fortuna will also be contesting the UEFA Women's Champions League in 2020-21.
Hannah Bacon: Debuting in the W-League for Sydney FC as a 17-year-old, Bacon uprooted her life just two years later to begin her international footballing journey in Norway, where she played with SK Trondheims-Orn and Byasen IL. In 2019, the Young Matilda moved to Denmark to join VSK Aarhus in the country's second-largest city, who currently sit last on the Elitedivisionen ladder.
German Frauen Bundesliga
Season start: Sept. 5, 2020
Beattie Goad: She was one of the W-League's rising stars when she debuted for Melbourne Victory as a 16-year-old before joining Melbourne City for their inaugural season, but winger Goad disappeared off Australia's radar for some time after joining Stanford in the U.S. college system, winning the NCAA College Cup in 2018. Now, with her degree completed and medical school on the horizon, Goad has taken up an offer from newly promoted German side SV Meppen and will be regularly playing against some of Europe's biggest clubs including recent Champions League runners-up VfL Wolfsburg.
Dutch Eredivisie Vrouwen
Season start: Sept. 6, 2020
Kyah Simon: While the Matildas striker has spent plenty of time on the road, her signing with PSV in July is her first club outside of the Australia/America cycle. After rediscovering her form for Melbourne City and the Matildas following a string of injuries, which saw her miss last year's Women's World Cup, Simon's momentum has carried her to Europe where she'll be hoping for regular, competitive match minutes as Australia gears up for the next four years' worth of tournaments.
Amy Harrison: Unlike most Matildas who went to the 2019 Women's World Cup, Harrison's first overseas contract came only a few months before boarding the plane to France. Although her form with Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers was on the rise, the midfielder has sought greater playing opportunities overseas in the hopes of cementing her national team position, signing for Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven in April. She will be eligible to play in the UEFA Women's Champions League in the 2020-21 season alongside Simon.
Season start: July 3, 2020
Teagan Micah: Like Goad, goalkeeper Micah started out in the W-League only to make the switch to a U.S. college in her later teen years. Playing for NCAA powerhouse UCLA, Micah earned several gongs and was named the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week eight times. She has carried this impressive individual form into her first overseas stint with Arna-Bjornar in Norway, where the 22-year-old will hope to work her way up from third-choice Australian goalkeeper to perhaps its most trusted custodian.
Katrina Gorry: Although she has been on the scene since 2009 and bounced around various leagues in Australia, America, Canada, and Japan, Gorry's first European stint comes with Norwegian heavyweights Avaldsnes IL. The former Asian Player of the Year had dropped off the national team radar in recent years, but a World Cup call-up combined with off-field personal developments saw her return to her old form with Brisbane Roar in 2019-20. The feisty midfielder will hope to recapture even more of it as a string of international tournaments begins for the Matildas.
Clare Polkinghorne: Similar to Gorry, Matildas centre-back Polkinghorne has plied her trade across Australia, America and Japan, but 2020 is her first season in Europe, with the two veterans signing for Avaldsnes IL in January. At 31 years of age, the next World Cup cycle might be Polkinghorne's last in a green and gold jersey, so her time in Europe will be geared toward maintaining fitness ahead of what could be a truly special send-off at a home Women's World Cup.
Nikola Orgill: Following the trend of Aussies making their European debuts, 27-year-old Orgill has used the momentum gained in two seasons at Canberra United -- including one as co-captain -- to slingshot herself across the world, joining Kolbotn in January. As one of the only Aussies abroad without a national team cap at any level, Orgill could find herself redressing that if she continues to develop in Europe over the next few years.
Tameka Yallop: Like several of her former Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City teammates, Yallop's decade-long career has taken her all over the world. Starting in the United States, the midfielder has spent time in Germany, Japan, and Sweden, but Klepp IL in Norway has been her European home since 2017. It's unknown whether Yallop will be linking up with the Toppserien club for the upcoming season, though, following the birth of her first child with former Football Fern Kirsty Yallop in August.
LSK KVINNER FK
Karly Roestbakken: Touted as a future Matildas captain, Roestbakken's senior Matildas debut in France and her consistent form for Canberra United -- which saw her win the 2018-19 PFA Young Player of the Year award -- resulted in the left-back being noticed by overseas clubs. In April, she signed a contract with LSK Kvinner FK, who are currently battling for top spot and will be contesting the next UEFA Women's Champions League after they won the Toppserien last season.
Scottish Women's Premier League
Season start: Sept. 9, 2020
Aoife Colvill: Emerging onto the W-League scene in 2018 after an incredible 42-goal haul for the Canberra United academy in the NPLW, the Cairns-born striker has sought greater playing opportunities abroad, joining Scotland's most successful women's club for two years. Training alongside the likes of senior internationals Hayley Lauder, Janine van Wyk, Leanne Ross and Lee Alexander, Colvill is hoping to stay in Europe for some time and use the experience to put herself on the Matildas' radar for 2023 and beyond.
Season start: June 27, 2020
Elise Kellond-Knight: After a string of injuries that affected her most recent NWSL and W-League seasons, Matildas midfielder Kellond-Knight finally found some fitness toward the backend of her time with Brisbane Roar in 2019-20. She looked to carry that consistency over to Kristianstads for her second Swedish stint, but two games into her season, Kellond-Knight suffered an ACL tear and will likely be on the sidelines for some time.
Emily Gielnik: Following her release by German giants Bayern Munich after only a handful of games, winger Gielnik didn't have to look far to find another European club hungry for her services, signing for Vittsjo GIK in July. While it doesn't boast the same big names as other Swedish clubs, Gielnik has been tallying up the minutes and has already scored a bunch of goals to help her new club off the foot of the ladder.
Swiss Nationalliga A Women
Season start: Aug. 16, 2019
BSC YOUNG BOYS
Alexandra Gummer: She may not be the best-known Aussie abroad, but Gummer trod a path through England before the wave of Matildas followed, playing for Doncaster Rovers Belles in 2016 between stints for Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United. In her second European foray, Gummer signed for BSC Young Boys in Switzerland -- one of the most successful clubs in the country -- to complement her professional life off the field.