Earlier today, both the Junior Matildas and ParaMatildas released important news ahead of training camps and World Cups (28/3/22).
Above: Action from a previous Junior Matildas training camp from March 2021. Photo: Football Australia.
Junior Matildas Head Coach Rae Dower has called up 22 promising young footballers as the Commonwealth Bank Junior Matildas return to action with their first training camp of 2022.
Held at the Australian Institute of Sport, the camp also marks the first activity of the junior national team in 12 months following the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and signifies the continued return of Australia’s youth national teams.
While Dower and her team have remained connected with the next cycle of players through a comprehensive online program, she expressed her delight in finally coming together as a group.
“It’s been a very long two years and I am proud of how we have engaged with the players over that timeframe. However, there is nothing like connecting in person, and we are excited to return to the pitch with these players,” said Dower.
“We have some incredibly talented up-and-coming players and the staff and I are really looking forward to seeing what they can produce this week. This training camp and the ones to follow in 2022 are vital for our youth programs. The ongoing development of this next generation of players and our ability to scout, guide, and nurture them is crucial to building depth in our National Team program.”
“I am extremely grateful to the hardworking coaches, program staff, and Technical Directors across the country who have kept the players motivated and assisted in their continued development over these last two years.”
Consisting of players born in 2005 only, the 22-player squad will involve players from ACT, NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria.
Due to the strict COVID-19 protocols, this camp will not feature any players from Western Australia; however, they will be in contention for subsequent training camps.
“For a lot of players this week, it will be their first National Team assembly. So, my message to them will be to come and soak up as much as they can and take as much as possible away from the experience.”
“If it can ignite a spark within them to go back and consistently work hard in their own environments, then opportunities like this will continue to come their way.”
“We want them to bring the best version of themself to the camp and put their own ‘flavour’ into trainings and matches, that’s what has given them this opportunity in the first place. I really urge them to play with that authenticity and to play without fear.”
The players arrived in Canberra today with the training camp scheduled to run until this Friday, 1 April.
Young Matildas Training Squad
|Kate BONERTZ-BENN||Defender||Football Tas / FQ-Queensland Academy of Sport|
|Holly BONERTZ-BENN||Midfielder||Football Tas / FQ-Queensland Academy of Sport|
|Libby DAVY||Goalkeeper||Football SA /SA National Training Centre|
|Jynaya DOS SANTOS||Forward||Football NSW / FNSW Institute|
|Anabelle GHABACH||Midfielder||Football NSW / FNSW Institute|
|Charlie GIBSON||Defender||Football QLD / FQ-Queensland Academy of Sport|
|Lara GOOCH||Midfielder||Northern NSW / Newcastle Jets|
|Erin GORDON||Defender||Football NSW / FNSW Institute|
|Aimee HALL||Goalkeeper||Football NSW / FNSW Institute|
|Madeline HOWARD||Forward||Northern NSW / Adamstown Rosebuds|
|Caitlin KARIC||Forward||Football Victoria / Melbourne City FC|
|Zoe KARIPIDIS||Defender||Northern NSW / Newcastle Jets|
|Aimee LONGHURST||Forward||Football NSW / Sydney University|
|Megan MIFSUD||Defender||Football NSW / FNSW Institute|
|Mackenzie NIELSEN||Defender||Football QLD / FQ-Queensland Academy of Sport|
|Sarah O’DONOGHUE||Midfielder||Football QLD / FQ-Queensland Academy of Sport|
|Ella O’GRADY||Forward||Football QLD / FQ-Queensland Academy of Sport|
|Nikita PERRY||Forward||Capital Football / Canberra United Academy|
|Bessie RIETHMULLER||Forward||Capital Football / Sydney University|
|Harriet SHUTTLEWORTH||Goalkeeper||Northern NSW / UNSW|
|Chloe WALANDOUW||Defender||Northern NSW / Newcastle Jets|
|Hayley WELLINGTON||Defender||Football SA / SA National Training Centre|
Meanwhile, the ParaMatildas have discovered their opponents in the first-ever IFCPF Women’s World Cup which takes place between 7th-18th May in Barcelona.
They have been placed in a pool that features Japan, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United States.
Recently appointed ParaMatildas head coach, Kelly Stirton is aware of the historic moment coming for the ParaMatildas in May.
“It is going to be a very competitive World Cup with five nations competing for the historic first world title,” Stirton said. “We will be coming up against some world-class athletes, but I know our players can match it with the rest of the world and that’s my job to ensure they are mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared.”
“Now the World Cup teams have been finalised and positions have been secured, we can shift our attention to how we will play our game and how we can break down the other four teams. It is important that our players are not just physically fit but mentally as well. The World Cup is the biggest event in the football calendar, and we are there to represent Australia to the best of our abilities.”
The ParaMatildas are Australia’s national team for footballers with cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, and symptoms of stroke and are ranked number four in the world.
They will commence their next phase of preparations for the world championships with camps at the Australian Institute of Sport later this week.