Winning is everything in sport.

And even more so for female sport. When you’re winning games of football, everyone wants a piece of you.

People line up at ticket gates to watch you play. When you’re losing, it doesn’t take long for crowds to dwindle.

Over time, I’ve become addicted to that winning feeling. And I don’t think I’m the only one. If you were to ask any Matilda I reckon they would tell you the same.

I’d be lying to myself if I was to say it isn’t amazing to play in front of big crowds, especially on home soil – that’s what you dream as a young girl about when you are aspiring to be a professional football player.

As Elise Kellond-Knight mentioned in her exclusive insight column, all of us Matildas have been overwhelmed with the response from the fans following the successful Tournament of Nations campaign as well as the international friendlies against Brazil in Sydney and Newcastle.

The exposure has really exceeded our expectations – and it is not something we have seen before in national women’s sport.

The launch of the 2017 W-League has come at the perfect time – it’s great to now have our country’s best players back from international club competition to help our domestic league continue to take strong strides forward.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: Kyah Simon, Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Yukari Kinga and Ashley Hatch of Melbourne City Womens team pose during a Melbourne City W-League media opportunity at SBS Studios on October 25, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 25: Kyah Simon, Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Yukari Kinga and Ashley Hatch of Melbourne City Womens team pose during a Melbourne City W-League media opportunity at SBS Studios on October 25, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

With that being said though, there’s little question the opportunity to head overseas and add international experience to our annual football calendar has been an underlying factor in the recent success of our national program.

It’s been great to learn from different coaches and players, and really get out of our comfort zone by even playing in non-english speaking countries.

I believe that foreign exposure has assisted in enhancing the level of play within the Matildas’ squad, and in turn, also enhance the competition across the domestic leagues and junior rankings.

To know our game is progressing as an industry is important to me, as I see myself playing a key role in engraving the next generation of Matildas.

We’ve come too far to start going backwards now.

As I get older I want to become more of a leader and I would love to have young or emerging players come to me for advice.

It’s important to be a leader, and a good teammate, if I can be remembered like that then I would be fulfilled.

I want to be the ultimate team player, and I feel that has translated into my game, as highlighted by the multiple positions I often fill between the Matildas’ and club football.

But really, I’m simply happy to play whatever role the team needs me to play.

As long as I can run out with my friends wearing the green and gold on the world stage, it doesn’t faze me in the slightest.

Alanna Kennedy

Alanna Kennedy is an Australian professional soccer player who currently plays for the Australian Matildas (national women’s soccer team) and for Melbourne City FC in the Australian W-League as well as the Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).