Hayley Raso has worn a ribbon in her hair since she was a junior. But there's a lot more to notice in the crafty Australian winger than that.
Prior to this year, Raso had not been involved with the Matildas since a 4-0 win over Vietnam in 2015. But she was involved in the Algarve Cup in Portgual, and subsequently the successful Tournament of Nations competition.
The Matildas have continued to attract a bigger fanbase this year, particularly as star striker Samantha Kerr won more hearts. Australia are coming off two stirring friendly wins over Brazil in New South Wales, where attendances totalled almost 32,000.
Women’s football is continuing to prosper and push for change, with the majority of the support being positive. However Raso decided to respond to a mean Tweet telling her to ditch her ribbon because it was hard to take her seriously.
The 23-year-old questioned whether they had even watched her play, as many people leaped to her defence.
“I wouldn’t normally call anybody out but there’s always somebody who wants to say something or call somebody out, or someone who just has a problem,” Raso told FourFourTwo.
“For me, it’s just something I do, it’s something I like to wear. I’ve done it for a long time, since I was young going through the state level, it’s just my thing and I enjoy doing it.
“It’s funny, the fans have taken notice and I guess he had a word to say.
“At the end of the day I hope people are taking notice of my ability and not what I wear or what I’m doing. I think that’s the main thing, people like me and support me for what I do on the soccer field.”
Have you seen me play soccer though? Hard to take you seriously when your sentence doesn't even make sense... https://t.co/y2dZpwg6zO— Hayley Raso (@HayleyRaso) September 21, 2017
Raso began her W-League career in 2011 for Canberra United, but she says her bow dates back to when she was just a junior.
She said she wore it initially to stand out, but now it’s become her trademark.
“Since I was really young, I’ve always worn a ribbon,” she said.
“A long time ago when I was trialling for different teams as a child I would wear it and hope a selector would take notice of me a little more.
“I ended up playing in the W-League, still wearing it and it just became a thing I got used to and really liked wearing and I guess I’m known for it now.”
Your football does the talking superbly. Forget the haters. They aren't worth it.— Ray Gatt (@Gatty54) September 21, 2017
I have no words for this buffoon .... rep the shit outta that Ribbon...— Melissa Barbieri (@Bubs_11) September 21, 2017
I would like one if it makes me as tough as you ... please.
The Matildas added back-to-back wins over Brazil to their successful year but Raso believes the “turning point” was the victory in the 2017 Tournament of Nations, downing USA, Japan and Brazil.
“It just showed that we are at the same level as everyone else - a really good level - and can beat any team on any given day,” she said.
“Hopefully that momentum keeps moving forward and we do continue to show that. We’re not so much the underdog anymore which is a cool thing.
“Seeing the Australian public get behind us the way they did (in Penrith and Newcastle), coming to our games.
“The record crowds shows just how big women’s football is getting in Australia. The support that we have behind us is really exciting and hopefully moving forward it gets even better.”
Raso has big aspirations for both club and country this year as her National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) side Portland Thorns sit second on the table in the closing stages of the season.
It was announced on Thursday that Raso would be returning to Brisbane Roar for a second-stint in her home state, but she still has unfinished business in America.
The Thorns get almost 20,000 people to most of their home games and Raso said winning the title was a real possibility this year.
She's loving the US after signing for Portland in 2016, previously playing a handful of games for Washington Spirit.
The winger has started in 18 out of 20 games this season and plays alongside fellow Aussie and former Canberra United teammate Ashleigh Sykes - the only player who can understand her Aussie lingo.
“I don’t even realise I’m saying things until they call me out, but it’s nice as I just tell them to Ash, she understands me and she explains to them. It’s a bit of a running joke,” she said.
“I’d like to say my accent stays Australian but I think sometimes I notice myself saying a few words differently and then I get called out.
“Portland is huge, it’s a big soccer city, the fans are amazing so every game, we go out and we have a big backing behind us which is really awesome.”