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History Makers – Clare Hunt & Clare Wheeler

Claire Wheeler and Claire Hunt - Alumni and Matildas

In 2023 St Andrew’s watched on proudly as two of our very own alumnae took the world stage at the FIFA Women’s World Cup as members of the Australian Women’s Football team, the Matildas.

Both Clare Hunt (Fr 2017) and Clare Wheeler (Fr 2017) were at St Andrew’s College for multiple years before going on to play for their nation and securing themselves contracts with two leading international football teams. Despite all the pressure on them as they’ve risen to play at the top of their sport, the two remain best friends.

Clare Hunt currently plays as a Defender for Paris Saint-Germain Feminine, one of Europe’s elite football clubs. From growing up in the small country town of Grenfell, NSW, to becoming a household name during the World Cup, her journey has been nothing short of extraordinary.
In February 2023, Clare Hunt marked a pivotal moment in her career by making her debut for the Matildas. In just 170 days, she became an integral part of Australia’s campaign at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, playing every minute of the tournament in the heart of defence en route to the Matildas securing a nation best fourth-placed finish.
Clare’s connection with St Andrew’s College started when she was introduced to St Andrew’s at a University Open Day and was drawn to the mix of academic and sporting culture. Reflecting on her time at College she told us that her favourite thing was, “interacting with a diverse range of students and appreciating their passion and drive in their given areas of expertise”.

Clare was a St Andrew’s Scholar for her four years at College, achieving high marks in her university studies while she continued to develop her football skills. She shared that her scholarship at St Andrew’s College “…allowed me to pursue my academic and sporting endeavours to the highest regard, and gave me the opportunity to learn from others and express myself to a great extent. Drew’s has allowed me to grow and prosper, and without this support, I would not have had this wonderful experience”.

Clare Wheeler currently plays for Everton FC, a top-tier team in English Football. Born in Coffs Harbour but spending most of her formative years in Newcastle, Clare’s passion for football was evident from a young age. She started her career at 15 when she was selected for the Newcastle Jets, who she represented for seven years before signing for Sydney FC.

Clare’s time at St Andrew’s was not only about academic pursuits but also about her active involvement in College sports: “St Andrew’s allowed me to move to Sydney to pursue my football and academic ambitions. This has greatly benefited my football career and also my career readiness for life after football”.
She is grateful for her time at St Andrew’s and has said, “The opportunity St Andrew’s provided me was pivotal towards my achievements. Their generosity following the loss of my mother was nothing short of incredible. From financial tuition and other support, Drew’s gave me the opportunity to get a Sydney University degree and play for SUSFC in the NSW Women’s NPL 1. This is something I’m forever grateful for.”

Recalling her time at College she said, “My favourite memory of my time at College was participating in College sports. It was always fun being a part of a team, helping others with football, or getting help playing hockey. My fresher year winning against Wesley was definitely one of my College highlights”.
Clare studied a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Sydney and secured herself a position as a Financial Assistance Associate at Macquarie Bank. In 2021, Clare made the move to leave this job and join the professional football club Fortuna Hjorring in Denmark. She later debuted for the Matildas in matches against Ireland and Brazil in September 2021. Clare recently scored her first international goal for the Matilda’s on 29 October 2023 in their game against the Philippines in the AFC Women’s Asian Olympic qualifying match.

We are incredibly proud of Clare and Clare and wish them all the best for the Paris 2024 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. We know the whole St Andrew’s community will be cheering them on when to victory!