Sunday Story: Taylor Ray

by Jeremy Walker

It has been a traumatic few months for Sky Blues youngster Taylor Ray but after undergoing knee surgery for a third time the 21-year old Matilda is set to don the Sky Blues shirt for a sixth consecutive season.

Ray has put pen to paper on a new deal with the club and two weeks ahead of schedule with her rehabilitation, she is eyeing an end of season return to the Liberty A-League and a spot in the Matilda’s 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup squad.

Taylor Ray has been Sky Blue for six years

After rupturing her ACL on international duty with the Matildas in June, Ray is maintaining a positive mindset on her road to recovery – previously returning twice from ACL injuries.

The 21-year-old defensive midfielder is ten weeks into her rehabilitation program and believes the Australia/New Zealand FIFA Women’s World Cup in July next year is still a possibility.

You have to give it your best shot at the end of the day because it’s a Women’s World Cup on home soil

Taylor Ray

“It’s an experience you’ll never be able to get back and it’s something I’m definitely working towards, it keeps me going,” said Ray.

“I think you need to have something you’re striving for and it’s not something that’s ruled out.  If everything goes well I might have that chance.

“It could be difficult not having a lot of game time, however what’s the point of not trying, you have to give it your best shot at the end of the day because it’s a Women’s World Cup on home soil.”

Dreaming of being involved in a home World Cup, Townsville-born Ray began playing football at the age of four when she was coached by her mother.

Naturally a supporter of the North Queensland Cowboys in the NRL, Ray also loves her rugby league and pledges herself as a “loyal supporter.”


“I’m a big rugby league fan and I support the North Queensland Cowboys, they’re doing well this year so I can say that quite proudly!” Ray added.

“Johnathan Thurston was my favourite player, he was a very big role model for me growing up.

“In relation to football, it’s always going to be Steven Gerrard and David Beckham, they’re really easy players for me to point out because they were also midfielders and such classy players.”

Like Gerrard and Beckham, Ray has also proven her class at the top level, winning the Sky Blues U20 Player of the Year for her key role in the 2021/22 A-League Women’s Premiership-winning season.

Taylor Ray is recovering well

“At the end of the day it’s a team sport and I wouldn’t be able to get these achievements and these personal goals if I didn’t have my support around me,” Ray said.

“I’m definitely really grateful to be recognised for that because sometimes as a defensive midfielder you don’t get that glory because you’re not the one really scoring the goals.”

Gratified by the support from the club, the young midfielder is eager to be back in action for the Sky Blues as soon as possible, going into her sixth season under head coach Ante Juric.

The support I’ve had from Sydney through these injuries is remarkable,” she added.

“I cannot be more thankful and more appreciative of how everyone in this club has stayed by my side.

“They want me to be at this club for years upon years so I can’t say enough to thank them.

“I’m in my tenth week of recovery and it’s progressing really well, I had a different kind of procedure. I got a donor tissue and a lateral tenodesis … just because it’s a repeat ACL it provides more stability for the knee.


“I should be running on the AlterG [Anti-Gravity Treadmill] next week, which is a couple of weeks earlier than anticipated, so those little achievements are something you’ve got to be happy with because that’s what keeps the mindset nice and positive going forward.”

Taylor Ray picked up the Sydney FC U20 Women’s Player of the Year

With sound knowledge and experience of rehabilitation programs, Ray is studying a Bachelor of Health Science (Exercise) degree at ACPE and recently finished Certificate 3 and 4 in personal training through the Australian Institute of Fitness.

“The courses give me the options in physio, exercise and other health fields,” said Ray.

“Obviously my experience now with physios are quite a lot and I think I’d really want to help someone in the future get through an ACL injury like myself.

“Outside of football that’s something that’s also keeping me driven and keeping my mind away from just football as well which I think’s important to have a good balance.”

Despite three ACL setbacks in six years for the promising young Matilda, Ray will continue pushing to become even better at Sydney FC and for the national side.

“I’ve been told from a lot of people that I’m a very resilient kind of player and I believe everything always happens for a reason,” the midfielder added.

“Things don’t get thrown in your path unless you’re going to be able to handle them and this is kind of crazy, but my Matildas cap number, 222, is actually an angel number and I got told this after doing my knee.

“It means your life is going to change but you’re going to be strong enough to get through it, so this is just something that keeps reminding me to trust the process.”


Unfazed by any type of setback, Ray is certain that she will be a “better player and person” than ever before due to her injury trouble, never giving up on her World Cup prospects.

“Obviously that’s every kid’s dream to finally make it to that point where you can say I’m good enough to be recognised to be in the national team,” Ray said.

“That feeling is something I’m working towards again. That’s what keeps my mentality positive and that’s why I play football and go through these injuries because the love of the game is so strong.

“These emotions are what always bring me back.”

Ray will continue her rehab with the Sky Blues when the Liberty A-League squad return for training in mid-October.