Western Australians receive their Matildas Caps at Optus 2023. Photo Courtesy Football Australia

Sara

King

Kingy

King is pictured in the centre above (photo courtesy Football Australia), receiving her Matildas Cap at a sold out Optus Stadium, Perth October 29, 2023. The match saw Australia defeat the Philippines 8-0 as part of their successful Olympic Qualifying campaign for Paris 2024.

Originally from Canberra, King relocated to Western Australia’s south west in 2005 after a very distinguished career that spanned three different continents.

As a young keeper, King’s journey began with keeping in junior boys teams, state school girls teams and by the age of 16, King was representing women’s teams and being selected for the Australian open women’s team (not yet named the Matildas)- in 1989 against Taiwan and 1994 against Russia. In 1987 King was selected as most valuable player at the Australian Schoolgirls Championships in Perth, the very first time the award was presented. The award being won in later years by Western Australia’s Lisa De Vanna and Perth Glory’s Alannah Kennedy.

As the first female from Australia to secure a soccer scholarship in the United States of America with Mt Ida in Massachusetts (1991), King plied her trade there through to 1994, winning two All American awards whilst achieving the Deans List for her studies in Human Services. In 1996/1997 King landed a semi professional contract in the United Kingdom, with Arsenal. Arsenal won the League and London Cup double in 1996/1997 season and King was presented her winners medal at a packed Highbury Stadium, when Arsenal men played Newcastle United. She went on to play for Middlesex County, the Greater London All Star team and Coached at the Chelsea Centre of Excellence in 1998.

Alongside Western Australia’s Penny Tanner, King Co-Vice Captained the only Australian Women’s University team that travelled to a World Universiade (or World University Games), dual hosted for the first time in Buffalo, New York and Hamilton, Canada in July 1993. The side was Captained by New South Wales State Team player, Kaye Yardin and included Sacha Wainright, an open Australian Women’s Team player. Andrew de Ambrosis coached and Australian football advocate, Heather Reid was manager. King kept the goals against United States global soccer icons of that era- Mariel (Mia) Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Julie Foudy. All of whom went on to play in the 1995 Women’s World Cup for the USA.

In 2004 King played for Canberra United forerunners, Canberra Eclipse in the inaugural National League.

In 2005 she relocated from NSW to the south west of Western Australia and fast became a major influence on football in the area, refereeing, coaching and playing for teams in Mandurah, Bunbury, Busselton, Capel and Geographe Bay. King collected her first Football West Goal Keeper of the Year award, playing in the WA Premier League with Mandurah City in 2007 and a second, jointly with Penny Tanner (Nedlands), in 2008.

King received the Sports Australia Award in 1987 for her outstanding achievements in soccer. There’s no doubt King was a pioneer, and followed the highest forms of football as it grew globally, seeking professional status and developing her game at all levels and across multiple continents. It wasn’t until 2023 that King received her Australian cap from Football Australia as reward for representing Australia in 1989 and 1994. The ‘Capping Ceremony’ saw King receive her cap alongside South Australian player, Maria Hull, and West Australians Lizzy Claydon and Janice Stott.

Today, King devotes her time to coaching womens football in the south west (where she has been recognised as a South West Hall of Famer) and sharing her extensive playing experience with aspiring footballers. She is a true pioneer, having travelled the world following her love for the sport, participating at all levels the sport can offer, and sharing her experiences at every step of her 44 years in the game (2024). Sara King is a true ambassador of women’s football.

Side note! King’s brother, Jason Washington-King, was a host on Fremantle’s ‘The World Football Programme’ radio show for several years in the 2000’s and the King Family is in the Australian Capital Territory Hall of Fame for their contribution to soccer there!

Information from Penny Tanner’s archives and Sara King herself!

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