Women's Team

Mary Fowler: 10 things you didn’t know

Australian international Mary Fowler is Gareth Taylor’s fourth signing of the summer.

The 19-year-old has put pen to paper on a four-year deal at the Academy Stadium, joining us from Montpellier.

Here are 10 things you may or may not know about our newest Blue…

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1. Wizard of Oz

Fowler was named the PFA (Australia) Young Women’s Footballer of the Year for 2022, earning praise from her peers for her performances for both Club and country.

Impressing in the Division 1 Feminine and cementing her spot in the national team, having hit the headlines at last summer’s Olympic Games, her contributions were recognised by her fellow professionals who voted her the prize winner.

“I am really proud and very honoured,” she smiled. “This particular award was one voted for by my peers so for them to have been able to recognise what I’ve done this past season and see the qualities in my game has motivated me even more to keep going.

“I’m on the right path and it’s just backing me up even more.”

2. Beach ball

One of five children, the 19-year-old grew up playing football on the beaches of Australia with her brothers and sisters.

Her elder siblings Caoimhin and Ciara both played for the Republic of Ireland’s youth sides (courtesy of their father’s heritage), while the latter also represented Australia at Under-20 level.

Though Mary has been warned she will find a similar setting hard to come by in Manchester, she says she’ll get along just fine!

“I started football quite young; mostly because my older brother played football,” she recalled.

“I come from a family of five kids. We always played at the beach.

“The first person I ever looked up to as a role model was my older brother. Growing up, he was the coach with my dad and I learned a lot of what I know about football because of them.”

3. Dutch courage

Having moved to Holland as a youngster, she is fluent in Dutch!

“We moved over to Holland when I was about 11 so I played all of my youth football in Holland, playing on the streets,” she recollected.

“I can speak Dutch fluently.”

4. French fancy

After returning to her homeland to kick-off her senior career, she made her way back to Europe, joining French side Montpellier, and says the experiences of playing football on the continent has added a unique string to her bow.

“I think it was perfect for me going over there (to Holland) – the culture of football is a lot bigger than it is in Australia,” she reflected. “It’s similar to England – a big football culture.

“I moved back to Oz and played for my first professional Club there. I think I only played half a season and moved back to Europe.

“I love playing football in Europe – the style of play suits me a lot more. I’ve been playing in France for the past two-and-a-half seasons.

“For me personally, living in all these different countries, learning different languages is all one big adventure to me.

“It’s gives you so much perspective on so many things. You get to learn so much about yourself and try things you never would have tried if you never went there.

“For me, apart from football, it’s one big experience of growth. I can look back at these times and I have all of these memories.

“If you have the right mindset, you can really learn a lot from every place you go to – and not just on the field.”

5. Great v Britain

Unsurprisingly, the striker says her career highlight was representing Australia at the Olympic Games.

It was certainly an impressive feat at 18 years of age and it was fully justified when she bagged a crucial goal for the Matildas in their quarter-final victory over Team GB, in what was a seven-goal thriller.

Fowler (who earned her first senior cap at just 15) came off the bench and collected the ball 25 yards out with a delightful touch to turn before unleashing a deflected effort past new teammate Ellie Roebuck, steering her side (which of course included Alanna Kennedy and Hayley Raso) to the semi-finals.

Given its significance, it’s no shock she dubs it her favourite goal.

“Going to the Olympics is definitely a career highlight,” she grinned. “It was a dream I’d always had a as kid

“To go there and to score there was amazing. I didn’t even know what happened, it just went in!

“It was probably my favourite game I’ve ever played in. The emotions and stakes were so high so for me to have scored a crucial goal, a goal I can look back on and get goosebumps, that’s definitely my favourite.

“Nothing in my career has ever topped that! It was awesome.”

6. Brazilian magic

As with many budding young footballers, Mary looked up to Brazil superstar Marta growing up, watching clips of the women’s football legend on YouTube!

“As I found out what YouTube was, I started watching Marta,” she laughed.

“She’s been my inspiration and role model in football in terms of how she plays.”

7. There's something about Mary

And describing her own playing style, Fowler says the best word to sum up her game is: ‘creative.’

“I would say I’m quite technical on the ball and I’m both-footed, which helps…” she said.

“I would say I’m quite good in front of goal with power and my vision on the field is also quite good.

“I like to play football with players who are also good on the ball, playing nice through-balls and one-twos. I like this creative style… That’s the word that sums me up.

“Instead of playing the ball back, I like to go forward and be the attacker who starts the attack and doesn’t stop it.”

8. Natural talent

Outside of football, she loves art, nature and animals and says she would probably be a zoologist if she were not a footballer!

“I really like art: drawing and painting,” she revealed, “and I really like exploring nature: going on hikes, seeing waterfalls and parks…

“I really like nature and I really like animals so maybe I’d be a zoologist (if I weren’t a footballer). I could see myself doing that.”

9. Numbers game

Her favourite school subject was Maths, which she admits is an unusual choice, but explains she enjoyed the problem-solving aspect – something she looks to translate onto the pitch.

“I liked Maths because of the problem solving,” she stated. “It would seem like a game to me so I liked it.

“I like to be a creative footballer and find solutions to situations other people wouldn’t usually find.”

10. Bright start

She says the best piece of advice she has ever received is: ‘Wherever you are, start there.’

“My brother always makes fun of this because spoken literally, it doesn’t make sense but it’s a piece of advice I always fall back to in difficult times,” she declared.

“It means: if I feel like I need to do something – for example, a workout – and I feel bad that day, instead of forcing myself and expecting myself to be at the level I want to be at, I step back and do what I can in that moment.

“I take it easy, knowing I don’t have to rush to get back to that level. I listen to my body and mind, understanding where I am in that moment instead of pushing myself to the limit and overdoing it.”

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