Matildas goalie Mackenzie Arnold juggled illness and hearing loss to become Australia's champion.

Matildas goalkeeper Mackenzie 'Macca' Arnold is the pride of the entire nation.

After Saturday's nail-biting victory against France, Arnold was awarded player of the match for her incredible performance, stopping shots from the likes of Selma Bacha, Eve Perriset and Kenza Dali in the FIFA Women’s World Cup shootout.

It was impossible to notice but Arnold was actually unwell, as she was still recovering from an illness that struck her down before the team's triumph over Denmark.

Addressing the press following the historic Matildas victory, Mackenzie appeared to become tearful, but she clarified later that she was still ill. “I haven’t been too well in the last couple of weeks," she said after Saturday's game. "So I’m still getting over that, hence the eyes – this isn’t tears, yet, it’s not tears."  

Despite not feeling her best, Macca never considered not playing. "You’ve just got to do your job. I was always gonna play.”

Mackenzie Arnold's journey to become a Matildas powerhouse.

Arnold grew up on the Gold Coast with her early years spent playing junior footy for Burleigh Heads and Robina City in Queensland.

Despite her natural goalkeeping abilities, Arnold originally tried out for defender at her first soccer team. However, her coach said ‘not this time (but) maybe you can fill in as goalie’ — an invitation which she declined. 

It wasn't until she was playing for a local team on the Gold Coast that she was, once more, asked to fill in as goalkeeper. On this occasion, she said ‘yes’ and the rest is history. 

She would go on to play in Australia for Perth Glory, Canberra United, the Western Sydney Wanderers, and Brisbane Roar. 


But our fair land was too small for Mackenzie: she would sign with Arna-Bjornar in Norway in 2018 before being selected by the Chicago Red Stars for a brief 2019 stint. 

She then found a permanent home with West Ham United from 2020 onwards.

Mackenzie started with the Matildas back in 2013, joining the World Cup squads in the 2015 and 2019, along with making the Olympic teams in 2016 and 2020. 

 The Quarter Final at FIFA Women's World Cup. Image: Getty.


It's wild to think Arnold was a third-choice goalie at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics behind Lydia Williams and Teagan Micah, but the soccer superstar was actually only made the Matildas first-choice goalkeeper in February 2023.

Six months on and Arnold has established herself as a vital component in the Matildas starting 11. 

In the minutes following Australia’s quarter-final victory over France, the Matildas players chanted “Macca’s on fire, nah nah nah nah, Macca’s on fire." She sure is!! 

Mackenzie Arnold shares hearing loss journey. 

In April, Arnold shared with her followers on Instagram that she had been tested and fitted with her first hearing aid.


During the pandemic, Arnold discovered that she had significant hearing loss after having trouble hearing people talking under their masks. 

The concept of using a hearing aid is not foreign to the goalie. “My brother has had hearing aids since he was three, four years old so me looking towards him, I should have known that I’ve never seen him any differently,” Arnold told

“He is my brother and he has helped me so much through this process and without him, I probably couldn’t have done it.”

After being encouraged by her brother to see a specialist, Arnold discovered she had lost a significant proportion of her ability to hear high frequencies. Since using a hearing aid, she's become "a lot more aware and connected," Arnold told Sydney Morning Herald.

The player doesn't wear the hearing aid when she is on the pitch to avoid getting distracted. 

Arnold was praised for sharing her hearing loss journey with her fans in the video with her West Ham teammate and partner Kirsty Smith. 

Mackenzie Arnold's relationship with partner Kirsty Smith. 

Arnold met Kirsty Smith when the Scottish football player signed on to West Ham's team as a defender in 2021. Smith came from Manchester United while Arnold had already been playing for the East London team since 2020.

Image: Instagram/@kirstysmith.11.


In March 2023, the couple confirmed their relationship on Instagram with a carousel of sweet photos together. Their teammate Emily Van Egmond commenting "soft launch", seemingly confirming the relationship announcement. 

After the World Cup, Arnold is expected to return to play with West Ham alongside her girlfriend, Kirsty. 

Feature image: Getty.

Love watching TV and movies? Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $100 gift voucher.