From Moreton Bay to Olympic stage

Published 6:00am 10 July 2024

From Moreton Bay to Olympic stage
Words by Nick Crockford

Six Moreton Bay clubs will be 'represented' at the women’s Olympic football tournament, which starts two wew.

Each has helped develop players carrying the sporting hopes of Australia and New Zealand at the Paris Games.

Cortnee Vine, Teagan Micah and Sharn Freier are with the Matildas who fear no-one after reaching the World Cup semi-finals last year.

Indiah-Paige Riley is in the White Ferns’ squad after scoring six times in their qualifying campaign. Only Micah has played at the Olympics before.

“The Olympics has been my dream since I was doing athletics when I was nine,” Vine, who lived at Mango Hill and went to Clontarf Beach High School, told Football Australia.

“This one I hold very, very highly and (it’s) something I want to be a part of. Having this in our reach this year …. you’re going to do everything you can”. 

Vine, 26, played for Deception Bay, PCYC Redcliffe (now Redcliffe Dolphins) and Peninsula Power from Under 12-16, before joining Brisbane Roar and Sydney.

The hero of Matildas’ dramatic penalty shootout against France in last year’s World Cup last month (see above) recently signed for US side North Carolina Courage.

Goalkeeper Micah, 26, went to Redcliffe State High School and started playing in Brisbane before joining Peninsula Power.

She then went to A-League Brisbane Roar, played college football in the US, then professionally in Norway, Sweden and is now with English giants Liverpool.

Teagan Micah in action for the Matildas. Picture Ann Odong Football Australia

Sharn Freier, a travelling reserve, began at Pine Rivers United (now Pine Rivers FC) and Moreton Bay United (now Moreton City Excelsior) before joining Roar.

The forward who turns 23 on July 24, broke into the Australian squad in April and has three caps – less than three years after missing 12 months with an ACL injury.

“When I found out I was going (with the Matildas to Mexico in April) it was quite a shock,” the ex-Pine Rivers State High School student told Football Queensland.

“Mum sent me a message when I was out shopping. She was crying, very emotional. Couldn’t spit the words out. It sounded better coming from her.”

Indiah-Paige Riley started football at the age of 12 with The Lakes (now North Lakes United) and then joined Moreton Bay United (now Moreton City Excelsior).

Spells at Roar and in Denmark followed and the 22-year-old former Murrumba State Secondary College student is now at Dutch giants PSV.

She played Under 17 and 20 for Australia and won a Matildas cap before switching to New Zealand, where she was born and has 24 caps.

When the Paris squad was named, Riley said on Instagram: "A dream come true! So incredibly grateful & honoured to be selected for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games."

In an earlier interview with FIFA she said: “Looking back to the Olympic qualifiers, I think the way I was able to perform was because of the tips and the guidance she (Katie Bowen) gave me.

“She was playing behind me and we really work well together, so hopefully that's something that we can continue in the games ahead.”

Sharn Freier makes her Matildas debut replacing Kyra Cooney-Cross against Mexico. Picture: Football Australia

New Zealand, world ranked 28, have been drawn in Pool A with Olympic champions Canada (8), Columbia (22) and France (2).

They face Zambia in a warm-up in Vichy on Sunday 3am NZT and in Olympic Group A face Canada on July 26 in Saint-Etienne, 3am NZT; Columbia on July 29 in Lyon, 3am NZT; France on August 1 in Lyon, 7am NZT.

The Matildas, world ranked 12, are in Group B with Germany (4), Zambia (64) and USA (5)

They have a warm-up on Sunday against Canada in Marbella, 5am AEST and in Olympic Group B face Germany on July 26 in Marseille, 3am AEST; Zambia on July 28 in Nice, 3am AEST and USA on July 31 in Marseille, 3am AEST.


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