Kyra Cooney-Cross: The Sky Is The Limit

In our latest #MidweekDub feature, we focus on Kyra Cooney-Cross. The Melbourne Victory starlet has just turned nineteen years-old and is firmly established as one of the biggest hopes among the next generation of Australian women footballers. Kieran Yap profiles Melbourne Victory’s youngster who is almost certainly to become a Matilda in the very near future.

Above: Kyra Cooney-Cross has been in outstanding form for Melbourne Victory in the W-League this season. Here, she is in action for them against Brisbane Roar. Photo: @victorywleague

It was her debut season, she was up against the star-studded Melbourne City and was directly facing Alanna Kennedy. The 15-year-old Melbourne Victory attacker gathered the ball, knocked it forward fearlessly and exploded past the Matildas defender, she held off the physical challenge and shot on goal. Unfortunately the strike was saved, but Australia had gotten its first hint of what Kyra Cooney-Cross was capable of.

She signed for Melbourne Victory in 2017, and made sixteen appearances for the club scoring twice before departing to Western Sydney Warriors in search of more game time for the 2019/20 competition.

Above: During her spell for Western Sydney Wanderers last season. Photo: @wsydneywanderers

In her time there she added to her growing highlight reel and developed into a more consistent player.

A brilliant curling shot to score from outside the area and an audacious back heel to set up a Kristen Hamilton goal were just two of the efforts that made her nomination for the W-League Young Footballer of the Year a no-brainer.

Her return to Melbourne Victory has seen her take on more responsibility in the team. In her first stint at the club she was used sparingly and often off the bench but in 2021 she has started every game and been vital to the midfield and attack.

She has gone from being a quick striker or winger to a player who is increasingly dominating games and threatening the opposition off either flank or through the centre. She has become a player that the opposition cannot ignore but has the mobility and work rate to be almost impossible to mark out of the game.

Above: Kyra Cooney-Cross pictured with Rosie Galea whilst playing with Blacktown Spartans in the New South Wales NPLW (state league).
Photo: Women’s National Premier League New South Wales.

Cooney-Cross is a clever, quick and inventive attacker, she can finish chances as well as she can supply them and is dangerous from set pieces, in the 2019/20 season she scored her first goal for WSW with a free kick, an in-swinging curling ball into a dangerous area that caused panic in the box and bounced past the keeper.

Melbourne Victory have surrounded their returning prodigy with talent and experience, she is supported by Lisa De Vanna and Melina Ayres in attack with Annalie Longo, Amy Jackson and defender Angie Beard behind her. The team may not be specifically built around her but she has been given the support to play her natural game and has increasingly become the barometer for her side’s fortunes.

Cooney-Cross has the pace to dribble past players and the ball control to do this in the middle of the pitch making her an unpredictable and entertaining player to watch.  Her goal against Newcastle Jets in round seven this season was a perfect encapsulation what makes her special, not so much for the finish which was from an angle and off her non-preferred left foot but for how she had a quick glance up for a better option before scoring. In this piece of play she showed the speed to burn off the challenges, the skill to carry the ball at pace, the vision to assess her options and the class to finish perfectly.

Despite not yet breaking into the senior Matildas side, she has been a fixture for the youth teams, scoring an incredible 14 goals in as many games at Under-17 level and seven times over eight appearances at for the Under-20’s, she was included in a training squad prior to the 2019 World Cup and although she didn’t make the final squad for France, on current form a full international cap surely awaits.  

Above: Kyra Cooney-Cross in action for Australia in the Asian U19’s Championship. Photo: Wikipedia.

At her age and with her talent she is simultaneously a star player of the league and one to watch for the future, consistent, inventive and often spectacular Kyra Cooney-Cross could hopefully become the next big thing in Australian Football.

Impetus’ coverage of Australian Women’s Football is supported by The Chicken Salt Co. They are offering every Impetus reader 5% off all orders of Chicken Salt from their website. Go to https://www.chickensalt.co.uk/?mate=impetus and place your order – 5% will automatically be taken off of the cost. The coupon code is impetus.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

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