Photo of Diane Hansen with current Junior Matildas coach Rae Dower.

Women of Football

In this series of Beyond 90 articles, a standard set of questions is posed to women who have different roles both in and around the 2019-2020 edition of the W-League.

This instalment focuses on the USA Fan, with international fan Diane Hansen answering the call despite how late at night it is.

Previous instalments in this series:

The Team Captain
The Referee
A Player’s Mother
The Photographer
The Coach


1. Who or what got you into the game of football?

Curiosity about women’s sports in general. I became aware of women’s soccer in the US in the late 80’s. I think I read something in a newspaper and went searching from there. It was very hard to follow women’s sports other than women’s basketball at the time, but as time went on and especially with the advent of the internet, it became markedly easier, which if you think about it wasn’t very easy at all considering how fast access has grown recently. If you were really lucky you might find a magazine or newsletter covering the game.


2. What is your favourite memory of a football game?

It was USMNT v Costa Rica on March 22, 2013, the infamous “Snow Game”. The fans and the team were so into the atmosphere. The attitude of both were “Screw it, we’re here, let’s do this”. And if it was a women’s game I’d have to say USWNT v France at the World Cup this year in France. All fans were engaged and the French fans were tremendous. It doesn’t hurt that they won both.

But my favorite Matildas game was in Denver, USA on September 19, 2012. It was the first time I saw them live, it was Sarah Walsh’s last international game and Lisa De Vanna torched Christie Rampone for a goal. As exciting as the game was, it was the first time I met Ann Odong in person (truly a delight) and got an up close and personal look at the team. We went to a practice in a local park, no fans or media, something that couldn’t or wouldn’t ever happen to today’s Matildas. I also got to meet Tom Sermanni, the nicest man, who knew that I’d be at his last game coaching the USWNT 2 years later?


3. What was your first W-League game?

Sadly, I’ve never been to a W-League game. But it’s definitely on my bucket list. I’m a massive Canberra United fan, so that’s the team I’d most want to see in person.


4. Who is your favourite player in the world?

Of all time has to be Michelle Akers for the US. Current favorite is Megan Rapinoe. Favorite Aussie has got to be Michelle Heyman, for club and country.


5. What is your game day routine? 

If I’m watching the Matildas or W-League it’s usually a late night or very early morning routine that involves lots of caffeine and Twitter. I have to say, even with the really odd hours, being able to actually watch the games via My Football is 1000% better than following on Twitter, or dodgy streams shared among diehard fans, like the early days.


6. What is one thing that will always make you think of football?

Seeing a wide open expanse of fresh cut grass always makes me look for a football player chasing a ball. I never played the game, so I don’t have visceral memories like a player would, but as a fan, sitting in the stands looking out over the field is always close in the back of my mind.