• Alicia Ferguson battles with China's Xiaoxu Ma (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
From 1997 - 2008, Alicia Ferguson-Cook pulled on the green and gold for the Matildas through two World Cups, an Olympic Games and a silver medal at the 2006 AFC Women's Asian Cup.
By
Ann Odong

Source:
Zela
26 May 2016 - 7:30 PM  UPDATED 27 May 2016 - 6:47 AM

At the conclusion of her international career, Ferguson-Cook helped launch the W-League playing one season with her home state team Queensland Roar (now Brisbane Roar).  That season not only saw the midfielder mentor the next generation of Queensland Matildas, but also claim the inaugural W-League championship.  

While most players retreat from the football life upon retirement, Ferguson-Cook continues to be heavily involved in the game starting with commentary roles in the W-League with ABC TV and at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup with ESPN.  

The 34-year-old is now based in London where she works as an Assistant Producer on the FIFA Football TV Show. 

Who in this current crop of players do you think is the most exciting?

This is going to sound like a bit of a cop-out but I can't pick one, and I think that's the most exciting thing about the current Matildas!

The depth of the squad has improved immensely and there's exciting players all over the park. It was always awesome to see the development of the younger players when I was still playing, but it's even better to see those same players leading the Matildas now.

The golden ring is within reach

Absolutely. I think the Olympic Qualifiers were a real turning point for the team and showed a great deal of focus, determination, maturity and depth.

'Potential' is a word thrown around quite a bit, but potential without results means nothing unfortunately. However, the girls had the potential and were rewarded with the result.

The key now is to achieve those results consistently.

Pressure makes them

No way.  If there's no pressure at a competition like the Olympics then I think there's something seriously wrong!

That's the lifeblood of elite sport. Who can handle the pressure? Pressure from the crowd, from the occasion, from their team mates and from themselves. Plus, if you're not competing to win, then why are you there?

Learning from the best

Julie Murray was my hero, mentor and friend when I first moved to Canberra. She took me under her wing and taught me so many things about football and life that I'm eternally thankful for.

Olympic sacrifices

My Olympic experience actually lasted about 3 years as I moved to the AIS in Canberra just after my 16th birthday & 6 months before everyone else in the team moved there so I could start high school.

It was scary, I was homesick, Canberra was freezing!! It was really tough, but extremely rewarding because all I wanted to do was represent my country at a home Olympics.

Not many athletes have that opportunity and I'm so grateful that I was one of them.

Fondest memory of the Sydney Olympics?

I have LOTS, but here are two:

The Opening Ceremony still gives me goosebumps when I think about it.

"Walking out from the tunnel to the most deafening roar and camera flashes was amazing. Nothing will ever compare to that experience."

The other is about my sister, Jacqueline. She was planning to fly to Sydney with my parents to watch our games but fell ill and ended up in hospital needing surgery. She wasn't supposed to fly (or leave the hospital) and was in a lot of pain, but she came down to Sydney and surprised me. When I saw her & my parents in the crowd from the Sydney Football Stadium pitch, I couldn't believe my eyes. It was brilliant and gave me such a lift to know they were in the crowd.

Control is the key for Matildas

Control the 'controllables.' In football you can't control the opposition, referee, weather, pitch condition etc. But you can control your attitude, passion, work ethic and application, so just focus on that.

The next step for Australian women's football

I'd still like to see a longer domestic season so the players don't have to supplement competition with friendlies against boys or representative teams.

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