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Lone Kumul Shines for Aussie matildas

By Nathan WOTI               SportsTok Magazine | Issue #99, JUNE 2021
From just playing backyard football with her siblings to now representing Australia at the international level and already being called an Olympian, teenage football sensation Mary Fowler has done what many would only dream of accomplishing throughout their career.   
Born to Papua New Guinean mother, Nido Fowler, and dad Kevin Fowler Jnr from Ireland, the football world’s most talked about teen, Mary Fowler, is a star in the making.
Mary plays in the forward position for her national team, Australian Matildas, and in the France Division 1 Feminine competition for Montpellier Herault Sport Club.
Her remarkable rise to the spotlight of world football goes way back to Trinity beach in Cairns, Australia. Mary and her other four siblings would spend hours of the evening playing mini competitions while trying to perfect their individual skillset and techniques as if they were in an actual match.     
Mary is the third born of five siblings who are also playing top level football in their respective divisions in Australia. Her elder brother Quivi ‘Coahimin’, was a member of the Republic of Ireland under 17 national squad before making his way to several second-tier clubs in Dutch in the likes of Jong Vitesseagovv FC and FC Dordrecht in from 2016 to 2018, before moving back mid-season to Wollongong Wolves in 2018. Mary older sister Ciara also made her national representative debut for the Republic of Ireland. Ciara and Mary’s younger sister Louise play together in FNQ Premier League for Edge Hill Untied FC. And her younger brother Shamus had just recently made his debut for Leichardt Lions in the FNQ Premier League.
It is not a secret that the siblings have pushed themselves to the level that they are in right now in their career in football. But behind their success is their parents, Nido and Kevin Fowler. They both knew that they had to raise footballers in the house, which means there would be no sitting in front of television after school or technology, and more time spent outside, going over training and exercise drills with their big brother. That was where Mary started to understanding the concept and basics about what it takes to compete.
Their parents had always encourage them to have clear focus and dream to achieve and that has laid the platform for the kids to grow in the sport and have that athlete mindset.
Mary’s father Kevin lived and work up in Mt Hagen for four years and later in Port Moresby for a year that was when he met Nido (Mary’s mom) and they got married before the family moved to Ireland where Quivi was born. Kevind and Nido later move to Cairns, Australia where the girls were born.
When Mary was 11 years old her parents moved to the Netherlands while Quivi had several try-outs with the two Dutch clubs—Jong Vitesseagovv and Dordrecht. They lived there for three years and Mary went to school there, where she started to learn and speak Dutch, while her big brother Quivi pursued his dreams in hopes to make it into EPL.   

In an interview with the SportsTok Magazine, Mary’s mom Nido Fowler gave a brief insight into the life of the young footballer and what made her the superstar she is today.
“Mary developed the love for football at a very early age even before she started schooling”, she said.
“At the age of six years old she made it into her first team.  But she was kicking a soccer ball for a long time before that” said Mary’s Mum.



But aside from football, Mary was also a very good netball player and a sprinter in the short distance growing up. She would participate in any sports that she finds herself in, but there was something in football that draws her attention says her mother.But apart from sport she was an excellent student in school and she enjoyed learning.“Mary’s biggest inspiration in football is her elder brother Coahimin and other world class like Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazil legend Pele, and Marta Vieira da Silva”, says Mary’s mum.    Because her childhood was spent overseas in the Netherlands, it sort of explains how Mary grew even closer to football in-terms of passion and her skills development. That is because football is almost played in every part of Europe, especially where the Fowler’s lived. It was also there where she began her education as well.  Fast forward to July 2018, a 15 year old Mary ran out on to the pitch in the famous green and gold jumper during the Tournament of Nations match against Brazil. She was used as a substitute late in the match. Hence, she became the fifth youngest member for the Matildas in the history of the national team.Since then her short career had been nothing but spectacular. In 2019 she signed with the Australia Women’s League club Adelaide United. In the same year, she made the women’s squad for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Straight after the world cup, she signed with the France Division 1 club, Montpellier HSC.Supporting Mary has been challenging during covid says her mother. Nido says, as family they talk everyday but it is quite hard sometimes because Mary is in France there are many late nights on the phone. Mary’s father Kevin has a lot of late nights on the phone supporting her.Kevin said, “Preparation, continuous learning, confidence and humility are some of the topics we have focused on in rising our children and what we continue to talk about. To be nice and respectful”.With her talent, it will be a huge boost if Mary had decided to play for PNG. Unfortunately Mary is unable to play for another country apart from Australia. These are the rules for FIFA.  While the other siblings may have the option of representing either Ireland, Australia, or Papua New Guinea. It is however entirely up to them to choose which national team they want to represent. But father Kevin and mother Nido would love to see one of Mary’s siblings wear the PNG outfit in the future. 

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