Its a sunny afternoon in Heather Garriocks garden, and were arranging shoes at the top of her front steps for a photo shoot. Make sure you get my little man in there, she says, moving a tiny pair of baby boys sneakers closer to the other four pairs - Mum, Dad and two big sisters. Little Astin is her youngest child, just eight months old, and something of a surrogate for the baby brother she lost 15 years ago. Nathan Garriock was just 17 when he was killed at an out-of-control house party in Sydney in 2003, a case that has never been solved. Heather Garriock was a 20-year-old soccer star, about to head to a World Cup in China when she learned her brother had died. Things were sweet until then, she says. It was more shock than anything - he was my younger brother, he used to idolise me, and he was at his best friend's 18th birthday party, in Camden. Nathan was my best mate growing up - he was the baby. And then that happened. Were sitting in the living room in the house Garriock bought and renovated earlier this year, in Canberra, the city shes called home for barely two years. She moved here with her family after taking up the role of coach to Canberra United, Canberras soccer club. Its another step in what she calls a long life journey, but for the moment, at least, she reckons she might just settle here. Its a feeling she hasnt had for a long time, having travelled the world playing soccer with the Matildas, living in several countries and seeing things she never thought shed ever see, growing up Campbelltown in the 1980s. One of five kids, she started playing soccer at six years old. Mum and dad worked full-time, and kids those days fended for themselves, basically, she says. She was a born tomboy in a not-very-sporty family - her sisters loved Barbies, her brothers were naughty. I was really mischievous, playing football at six. I was the only girl but I loved it, she says. The film 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham, she says, resonates strongly, although a lot has changed since then. Women's sport is so prevalent in this day and age - now everyone just wants to watch women's sport, she says. Back when she was a kid, she struggled to be taken seriously as a soccer player who clearly had talent. I think that's where my fighter mentality came in, you had to always prove yourself, she says. Even when she got into Westfield Sports High School, a dedicated sports school in western Sydney, she had to prove herself. You had to trial for it, and I was the only girl out of hundreds of kids trialling, she says. Garriock was always naturally athletic and was good a cross-country running, but once she got into Westfields, it was all about soccer. Her parents, she said, tried hard to make sure she got a good education, but she was never good at school. It didnt matter at the time, because by the time she turned 16, she had left school and was invited to play for the national team at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. It was 1999, and the team was gearing up to travel to China. I played in front of 35,000 Chinese fans, and they were ranked number one at the time. It was amazing, she says. It was the first in what would be countless overseas tournaments, several Olympic Games and World Cups. She supplemented her career in the off-season playing and coaching in Sydney or overseas, running summer football academies and coaching countless kids. When Nathan was killed in 2003, she was living in Queensland and preparing for a World Cup. Her family travelled to the US to watch her score what the media described at the time as the biggest goal of her soccer career against China. She wore white soccer boots in Nathans honour, and told sports reporters that he was her motivator, on her mind the whole time. And life went on. She kept playing, and travelled to some amazing places, including twice to North Korea, where she played against the military-style junior ranked team. The players, she remembers, were like robots, all with the same haircuts. We had no hope. Couldn't tell them apart, she says. She lived and played for clubs in Sweden, Denmark, upstate New York and Chicago. It was on a visit to Abu Dhabi, while playing for the United Arab Emirates, that she met the love of her life, Mathieu Louchart. She was drinking with friends in an English pub in the resort she was staying in. He, a Frenchman, was there working in the French military. She made eyes at him across the room, and the way she tells it, she decided instantly that she wanted him, despite not speaking a word of French. That was 10 years ago; the couple now have three children, and he has embarked on a career in Australia as a landscaper. But in the interim, Garriocks career has taken several turns. Her career in the Matildas ended abruptly, she says, after she had her first daughter, Kaizen, in 2012. It's kind of a sad story, it's disappointing how my career did finish up, she said. I had Kaizen and had ambitions to come back. And while I was pregnant, the coach that I'd had for eight or so years who was amazing and supportive and really supportive of a mum and a footballer, got a job over in America, and new coach came in. I hate speaking about it - she ruined my career. She wasn't supportive of me being a mum and having a baby as well as playing football, she just didn't think that I could do both. It was 2012 when I got back, got fit, worked my arse off to get back in the team, and she just didn't want to support the fact that I had a young baby and I wanted to travel with the team. There were too many roadblocks, she just made it difficult, and there was no collective bargaining agreement which means there was no contracts to support women with babies. It still infuriates me. She had the backing of the union at the time, and brought a case before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal arguing that the Football Federation should help cover her childcare costs. The case didnt succeed, but it forced various sporting codes to start paying attention to how they treated female players with families. We lost the change to the legislation, but it was a win because it put child policies on the map for athletes, and now if you look at every code, netball, football, basketball, everything, everyone's accommodating, she says. If I had a child today and was playing for the Matildas, I'd be sweet. By the time she retired from playing professionally, Garriock had played 130 matches with the Matildas, and had represented Australia in three World Cups and three Olympics. She began a new job coaching at Sydney University, and soon realised her parents had been right all those years ago when they had tried to press on her the importance of education. I started thinking if I'm going to be coaching Sydney University, with students who want to be an elite athlete but also want to be academic, they can't be smarter than me, so I need to do something, she says. She completed a masters degree in education, majoring in sports coaching, around the time she had her second daughter, Noa. She loved living in Sydney, but eventually she and Mathieu decided to move to Camden, where she had grown up, to build their dream home. It was, she says, this amazing, perfect, beautiful mansion that never quite felt right. It was just the wrong area, we just didn't enjoy living there - I love the city life, she says. It was counter-intuitive, then, that she put her hand up to coach Canberra United. The next step for my coaching career was to apply for a W-League job, and I wasn't too keen on applying for the Canberra job, she says. It was only the location that turned me off, it wasn't the club in general, because the club I think has the best history in terms of being a family club. It's certainly the best run, and it really focuses on the female side of things and wanting to do the best for the players both on and off the field. She reasoned to Louchart that applying appealed to her competitive streak. Of course, she got the job. Nearly 18 months later, she says, she has no plans on leaving Canberra any time soon. "I absolutely love it, she says. This is the first time I've felt at home. I think its because of the community, people here are in very similar situations to us. People move from everywhere and they come don't have their established friends groups and we've met so many amazing people. Shes also been thinking of her brother lately - NSW police have recently re-opened the case after a Sydney newspaper uncovered possible new evidence. I won't use the word optimist in this situation, it's probably the wrong word. But regardless of the outcome, it would just be nice to know, she says. Everything happens for a reason in life, I think, and while it's definitely not the best outcome losing my little brother, I think in life, you've got to get on with your life and things were meant to be. My mum and dad will never get over it. They've never been the same.