Fatima Flores’ face may not be a familiar one but, if you have been to a Matildas or Brisbane Roar W-League match in the past 12 months, you may be more familiar with her voice.
When it comes to loud, passionate and vocal support for women’s football, Flores is one of the first on her feet ready to cheer on her teams.
Flores is part of a growing trend in women’s football where fans are coming together to create dedicated supporter groups. A former player, the [insert age] has been a key figure in two such groups – The Roar Corps (Brisbane) and the Mad-Tildas.
“It is so new and exciting to be involved as we all share a common goal,” she said.
“We want to see our Matildas win the World Cup, to see the W-League improve and show the world we are a serious football country.”
The Mad-Tildas were in full voice during the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, including playing their part in our Waltzing Matilda 2023 fan movement.
Present at every pre-game activity and leading the chorus during the Matildas matches, the supporter group was a testament to what devoted Aussie football fans could achieve together.
“We wanted to come together to improve the game day experience, the match atmosphere and give our team the active support they deserve.”
“We had songs for each player (thanks to the help of the creative people in the group) and had fan-created Matildas supporter gear.”
“If we as fans can get together to work hard to improve the atmosphere at games and make it entertaining, it will spark other people's interest in the Matildas and the game.”
For Flores, the fields of France were half a world away from her football beginnings, where she fell in love with the sport through her father’s involvement as a nine-year-old.
“It was our 'thing',” she recalled. “When we immigrated from El Salvador to Australia, my Dad started refereeing in the Brisbane leagues and I would go along to his trainings and train with all the referees and watch his games.”
Soon Flores moved from the sidelines to the middle, when she joined a local club with a strong Salvadorian flavour.
Many years of kicking the round ball around the parks of Brisbane saw her love of the sport and women’s football grow to where it is today.
That enthusiasm extends beyond the “strong and committed” players on the park, to the togetherness of the community off the field:
“The special thing about Australian football culture is the close community, especially the women's football community, helping each other out, to grow the game.”
“There are so many passionate people who love the game and go above and beyond to do what they can to grow the game at their local club, school level and the elite level.”
The Mad-Tilda saw firsthand how the event in France brought together people from around the world, celebrating the finest athletes and incredible diversity of the beautiful game. It is this notion of fans being Limitless Together that cements Flores’ desire to see a FIFA Women’s World Cup™ down under.
“I would first cry,” she said when asked what it would mean to see the tournament on Australian shores.
“If we can host the World Cup, I know it will capture the Australia’s passion.”
On top of the Matildas and Brisbane Roar, Fatima Flores has added Australia’s FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ Bid to her list of movements to support. For the Brisbane local, that means going all in. Answering the call to #GetOnside was an easy decision.
“It’s our time!” she said enthusiastically.
“We have never had the opportunity to show the world how much we love this game.
“We are blessed to live in the most amazing country and would love to show it off to the rest of the world!”