As the Matildas shine at the World Cup, Julie Dolan looks back to her days in green and gold

Almost 40 years before the Matildas became household names, the Australian women's soccer team played its first official international match.

It was October 6, 1979. Julie Dolan, then 18, was captain.

"I remember it clearly. I printed out brochures to try to get people to come," said Dolan, of the Central Coast.

About 50 people attended, many of them family and friends of the players.

"For us, it was massive. You're in green and gold, playing an international match. You're playing for your country and that's everything," she said.

In her day, players' mums sewed Australian emblems onto their gear.

"There were no free lunches, so to speak. But at the time, we didn't know any different," she said.

Dolan will be watching with pride as the Matildas head into their third match of the World Cup against Jamaica on Wednesday morning.

The team secured a crucial 3-2 win against Brazil last Friday. The result brought back precious memories for Dolan.

She played for Australia in the first women's "test world cup" in 1988. The Aussies famously beat Brazil 1-0 and made the quarter finals.

FIFA staged the tournament to test the feasibility of a women's world cup.

"They called it the pilot world cup," she said.

The event was held in China. Footage recently emerged of the Australia-Brazil match, featuring captain Dolan at the coin toss.

"That's some rare footage. It brought home everything about that tournament - the fact we beat Brazil for the first time.

"I look at the World Cup now on TV and think, 'Wow, we hoped for this way back then'. We had no idea what would eventuate 33 years later."

Dolan, who now works at Central Coast Sports College at Kariong, has watched with pride as the Matildas have become household names over the past few years in particular.

She believes Matildas like Sam Kerr, Emily van Egmond and Clare Polkinghorne will look back in 20 years and realise they were "just at the beginning" of the rise to prominence of women's soccer.