Matildas’ vice captain Steph Catley is engaged to a partner who well and truly knows the highs and lows of playing professional sports.
After the Matildas’ devastating loss to England’s Lionesses on Wednesday, Catley delivered an emotional message to the Australian public, thanking them for their overwhelming support and declaring it was “only the beginning” for the team.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Steph Catley saves an almost certain goal at FIFA Women’s World Cup.
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No doubt helping Catley come to terms with the loss is her fiancé Dean Bouzanis, also a football player.
The pair, who became engaged in January, met on the football field, as they were playing for their respective Melbourne teams.
Bouzanis, a goalkeeper, grew up in Sydney and joined the NSW Institute of Sport after his football talents were recognised early.
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After four years with Liverpool in the Premier League, he played in the UK and Greece, before returning to Australia and joining the Western Sydney Wanderers and then Melbourne City – where he and Catley met in 2016.
Love blossomed, and earlier this year, the pair was engaged.
Sharing their engagement news, Catley took to Instagram, writing: “My forever family.”
In the accompanying photo, Catley shows off her engagement ring, with the couple (and their dog Calvin) surrounded by red love heart balloons.
Steph Catley and Dean Bouzanis are engaged. Credit: Instagram/Steph Catley
Matildas’ teammates, fellow footballers, friends and family all rushed to congratulate Catley on the happy news.
“Congrats guys. Omg,” Matildas’ captain Sam Kerr posted, with a love heart emoji.
“Who’s cutting onions?! Congrats Steph and Dean,” the Matildas’ official Instagram commented.
Socceroos great Tim Cahill commented with a love heart, while sports journalist Tara Rushton wrote: “Congratulations, gorgeous couple.”
Matildas vice captain Steph Catley, left, and with her partner Dean Bouzanis. Credit: Getty/Instagram (Steph Catley)
Speaking to 7NEWS.com.au in June, Catley laughed about her and Bouzanis being referred to as a sporting “golden couple”.
“Nice. Someone’s got to take the role,” she said.
She said life with Bouzanis was very much about their mutual love of “football, football, football”.
“Dean is football obsessed, probably more than I am, and he watches all my games and analyses them closely,” she said.
“I watch his games, but he is probably way more into my games.
“We talk about football a lot, we watch it a lot and it is our lives, so it does dominate.
“We have a dog now (Calvin), so he sort of gives us a bit of a distraction, which is good.”
Steph Catley and Dean Bouzanis. Credit: Instagram/Steph Catley
Catley began her career at home in the W-League competition with Melbourne Victory in 2009 when she was just 15, before forging a successful career in the US and ultimately joining Arsenal in 2020.
The Matildas’ veteran made her international debut in 2012 and has accumulated 109 caps for her country.
Catley said the rise of women’s football in Australia has been huge, with the growth of the sport changing immensely since her first game in green and gold.
“It’s a completely different scope to when I made my Matildas’ debut,” Catley explained.
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“When I first came in, women’s football was just so under the radar, and it wasn’t really spoken about at international level or on a big scale at all.
“Now, you look at where our players are playing around the world at the clubs they’re at, the things they’re doing at club land.
“A player like Sam (Kerr), Caitlin (Foord), all these players that are thriving in the biggest leagues around the world and that, for our team as the Matildas, is just so important.”
Speaking to 7NEWS.com.au following the Women’s World Cup semi-final loss to England, Catley was full of emotion as she reflected on the Matildas’ journey.
Steph Catley thanks the crowd following the Matildas’ FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-final loss to England. Credit: Instagram – @stephcatley
“It’s been an incredible ride and I’m sure the fans have felt every single emotion like we have,” she said.
“What can I say, other than thank you?”
Additional reporting by Joel Martelli.
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