She may just be weeks out from the biggest challenge of her career, but Caitlin Foord found some spare time to return to Wollongong for a special visit on Saturday.
The Matildas star shocked junior players at her old club, the Illawarra Stingrays, with a surprise appearance at their weekly training session at Guest Park. Foord was in disguise as a groundskeeper and received a huge round of cheers and gasps when she revealed her true identity to the group.
The 28-year-old was happy to pose for countless selfies with her young fans, despite the cool and windy conditions in Fairy Meadow.
Foord's visit came less than a fortnight out from the FIFA Women's World Cup getting under way in Australia and Zealand. It will be the Warilla junior's fourth Cup campaign, with the Matildas' first clash coming against the Republic of Ireland in Sydney on July 20.
"It's always nice to not only be home, but to also obviously give back to a club that I used to play for and i think they enjoyed it. So hopefully I made their day," Foord told the Mercury.
"The Stingrays were the first full-girls team that I played for, so I was able to make that step and be at the club for a couple of years before moving up towards Sydney and taking my game to the next level. It was a nice little pathway.
"I think every young footballer, female especially, will be excited about what's to come at this World Cup and it's amazing that we have this year, and that it's accessible. And I hope that these young girls make the most of it.
Saturday's visit was made possible thanks to The Smith's Snackfood Company, who are the official tournament sponsor of the Women's World Cup.
"The Smith's Snackfood Company is proud to support women's soccer through Frito-Lay's US relationship with FIFA Women's World Cup 2023," The Smith's Snackfood Company CMO Vandita Pandey said.
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