audio close compressed excel CS_logo_icon_solid_yellow_alt Created with Sketch. x x image insta-black menu pdf Print BTN - Shortlist Created with Sketch. Share Asset 1 word


Head of Women’s Football for Football Australia


Sarah Walsh is a former Australian international athlete with 70 caps and 35 international goals for the Matildas. She has a decorated career including appearances in the 2004 Olympics and 2007 FIFA World Cup. She clinched victory at the 2010 Women’s Asian Cup.

Since then, Sarah has evolved into an accomplished sports executive, Logie-nominated commentator, and compelling public speaker. Her firsthand experience in high-performance sports has translated into advocating for pay equity and inclusion, spearheading innovation in governance and policy driving social change at all levels of football.

Notably, as Head of Women’s Football for Football Australia, she influenced the strategy that generated a staggering $389M for football's World Cup leveraging strategy through government and commercial investment, with an additional $200M earmarked to improve community infrastructure for women and girls across all sports. As hosts of the most commercial FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Matildas shattered attendance and viewership records, drawing over 11 million viewers during the semi-final against England, making it the single highest rating TV program of all time.

Recently ranked 22nd on News Corps' list of 100 most influential women in sport, Sarah’s illustrious playing and professional career converge in this pivotal moment.

Today she serves as the Head of Women’s Football, Women’s World Cup Legacy and Inclusion at Football Australia.

Talking Points

Breaking New Ground: When Australia fell in love with the Matildas.

In 2023 even before the Matildas reached the semi-finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup they had broken all of the records. They achieved record TV viewership, record match attendance, record merchandise sales, and a record number of kilometers covered by a single player, Katrina Gorry in the midfield. It was also a record that Katrina Gorry was a new mum returning to play professionally, enabled by an industry leading parental policy. Australian politicians took to social media to be associated with the team. The Minister for Defence announced that his portfolio could be managed by Matildas Goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold. The Minister for Sport declared she would like to be the Minister for the Matildas. Sam Kerr's calf made record headlines. We saw whole flights of passengers watching in-flight entertainment - the Matildas penalty kick-out against France in the Quarter Finals. Several millions of fans in stadiums and fan sites around Australia celebrated at the Cortnee Vine goal that sealed the record performance of any Australian national team at a FIFA World Cup. And finally, at the end of the journey, even though the team didn't take home the silverware, they delivered a win for women and girls across all sports, attracting a further $200M from the government to improve community facilities.

So what was the on and off-field strategy, operational and commercial innovation around the Matildas that managed to capture the hearts and minds of over 40% of Australians? And what changes now in the industry of sport, broadcast, media, corporate and broader society as a result of Australia falling in love with the Matildas?

As the Head of Women's Football in Australia and a former Matilda (played from 2004-2012), Sarah shares the incredible story that led to record broadcast and enagement metrics for any Australian sports team ever, mens or womens. Sarah also looks at the innovation around the Matildas that managed to create a 5x multiplier in brand value, and questions what changes now as a result of Australia falling in love with the Matildas.
We absolutely loved having Sarah Walsh at our Reward Gateway Live event, her keynote was incredibly inspiring and insightful. The feedback we've received has been exceptional, thank you so much Sarah! Reward Gateway

Sarah Walsh was a pleasure to work with. She was highly engaged in understanding our business objectives and ensuring her content provided the inspiration that was needed within our conference program. I can't recommend her highly enough!

Let us know

and we'll send all the latest Saxton updates and news direct to your inbox
Thanks, you have been subscribed
View Shortlist