An AFC Women’s Asian Cup winners medal, a FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance, two Westfield W-League championships and a stint with an overseas football club – Brisbane Roar Women’s Tameka Butt has a lot to show for the 20 years of her life.
An AFC Women-s Asian Cup winners medal, a FIFA Women-s World Cup appearance, two Westfield W-League championships and a stint with an overseas football club - Brisbane Roar Women-s Tameka Butt has a lot to show for the 20 years of her life.
Born in Orange, NSW, Butt moved to the Gold Coast as a five-year-old and played all her formative years at Mudgeeraba Football Club, where she was the only girl in a male-dominated competition until she reached U-14 levels.
A scholarship with the Queensland Academy of Sport opened the door for the pint-size attacking midfielder-s career when she was 15 and since then has barely looked back, quickly developing as one of the brightest stars for Australia-s footballing future and becoming one of the first names on Brisbane Roar Women Head Coach Jeff Hopkins- team sheet for every Westfield W-League match.
As well as her full national team caps, Butt captained the Westfield Young Matildas to both the 2008 AFC U-20 Championships and the ASEAN Women-s World Cup, where Australia were crowned champions.
Brisbaneroar.com.au caught up with Butt to ask your chosen questions from Facebook and Twitter.
1. Growing up, what was it like being the only girl (and captain!) of your football team?
I guess because I was so young, I never really thought about the fact I was the only girl. When we were getting changed, I used to take my shirt off because I didn-t really realise. It was good though, it felt like a really good team experience. When you get to a certain age, boys get a lot faster and bigger and what not but when you-re young and it-s not too physical, playing with the boys is probably the best thing you could do. Being the only girl in the team and being captain, the boys still just saw me as one of them. They didn-t really mind and it was really good to have that leadership at that age.
2. You spent some time playing football overseas with Ottawa Fury in Canada. What was that like and do you hope to go play overseas again in the future?
It was one of the best experiences I-ve ever had going over there. I was there for three months. Living out of home, being in another country and playing football is what you really want to do growing up. It-s helped me grow as a footballer as well so I-m definitely looking at going overseas again next year. I-d like to go somewhere different, I-ve been to Canada so I-d to go somewhere else, maybe Europe. I think Kim Carroll and Leena Khamis are going back to Denmark so it would be good to go over there.
3. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I think definitely winning the Asian Cup last year in 2010. We-re playing in Asia now and it-s quite difficult so to get some silverware there is quite an achievement. Also, personally, getting some playing time at the World Cup this year in Germany was just amazing. We actually had crowds so it was quite different, the atmosphere just pumps you up so much more when you have people watching you. It was amazing, I wish we had those crowds here.
4. You-ve been playing in the Westfield W-League since it started. What are your thoughts on how it has progressed and the standard of football being played?
I think this season is definitely the best season the W-League has ever seen. The teams are really even and lot of people have gotten involved in the W-League this year. I think it-s up there internationally and I think it-s pretty competitive with the WPS [Women-s Professional Soccer League in the US]. That-s probably the level we are aiming for and I don-t think we-re too far off it. As far as European leagues go, they-re probably a bit more competitive but we-re on our way. The more you move internationally, the better the competition gets and the better the awareness is and the better the support that we get from Australia is, so I-d love to see the W-League competing in a Champions League in Asia. It-s something for us and AFC [Asian Football Confederation] to aim for.
5. If you could chose any international footballer to play alongside you, who would it be?
Someone asked me the other day who I thought the player that played most like me was and I think Marta [Five-time FIFA World Player of the Year] is probably my ideal player. In saying that, we play our game so much alike but for sure, I-d love to play alongside Marta. When I was younger, I was quite oblivious to the differences between the men-s game and the women-s game so I didn-t really have a football superstar that I looked up to. It was just David Beckham really, but it wasn-t really to do with the football side of things. I didn-t really have a female footballer to look up to until I made the QAS [Queensland Academy of Sport] and became aware of the Matildas. I think the Matildas as a whole team was what I looked up to and what I aspired to.
6. What-s your favourite thing to do outside of football?
Well, I just got home from Main Beach so I-m definitely going to say surfing and being in the sun. I-m also studying at the moment, I-m at Griffith University and I-m doing a business degree. I-m really enjoying it at the moment. I think it fits well with my football so I have time for it and it suits me.
7. If you were a Masterchef, what would be your signature dish? Mine would be a gourmet toastie, I make the best toasties. It-s got a bit of fetta, sundried tomatoes, pesto, I like chicken on it but whatever. It-s quite amazing. I-ve made it for a few of the girls and they were impressed because I-m not really known for my cooking but usually I just make it at home.