ParaMatildas and Young Matildas World Cup News

The ParaMatildas’ World Cup campaign opens next week and Impetus hears from head coach Kelly Stirton after this week’s training camp. The Young Matildas also found out their opponents for August’s U20 World Cup and we heard the views of head coach Leah Blayney (6/5/22).

Above: The ParaMatildas pictures at their Sydney training camp this week. Photo: ParaMatildas.

ParaMatildas head coach Kelly Stirton has named a 10-player squad to compete in the inaugural IFCPF Women’s World Cup in Salou, Spain. 

Running from 11th May to 17th May 2022, Australia will commence their maiden campaign against the Netherlands on 11 May 2022 with kick-off at 12:45pm Central European time / 8.45pm AET. 

Australia’s squad features players from Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, and New South Wales with two goalkeepers and eight outfield players for the five-a-side modified competition. 

Stirton expressed her delight in selecting the first squad to represent the ParaMatildas on the international stage. 

Above: The ParaMatildas in training this week. Photo: ParaMatildas.

“With the selection, this is an exciting time for these players who have been working towards this goal for the longest time.  They are ready to make history for our nation,” Stirton said.

“It was certainly a difficult process and through their efforts, the players have made this a real challenge to select the final squad.

“This is a squad with many strengths including leadership, speed, and agility.  We have a lot of girls with para-sports backgrounds meaning we have a quick squad, which is going to be a danger when we break behind those lines of defence.  Our positive attitude as a squad is also one to watch out for, we have that undefeated resilience.”

The squad ranges from the youngest team member, 15-year-old Charlize Tran to the experienced Nicole Christodoulou and Matilda Mason.  It also includes two Paralympians in Georgia Beikhoff and Rae Anderson, with Anderson recently competing at the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympics. 

The side will be co-captained by Georgia Beikhoff and Eloise Northam with the duo handed their jerseys by former Matildas captain and Legacy ’23 ambassador, Julie Dolan and former vice-captain Moya Dodd in a jersey ceremony that included CommBank Junior Matildas head coach Rae Dower and seven Future Matildas players. 

Above: Lots to look forward to the ParaMatildas over the next couple of weeks. Photo: ParaMatildas.

“We are heading to Spain to play for each other and our country.  The players may be individuals off the field but when they are on the field, they are one.  The team has shown me that obstacles put in front of them can be overcome by working together as a team.” 

“I would also like to make special mention of the players that have helped us prepare for the tournament, especially Emily O’Sullivan and Rachel Tolson who have been here in our pre-departure camp.  All the players who have been a part of this journey are a part of theParaMatildas history.” 

After the opening clash, the pool matches will continue in quick succession with Australia taking on Japan (13 May), hosts Spain (14 May), and United States (15 May) to close out the fixtures. 

Following the round-robin stage, the top two nations will challenge for the championship while the bronze medal match will feature the third and fourth-placed teams. 

The CommBank ParaMatildas games will be broadcast on the My Football YouTube channel, while tournament match scheduling and results can be accessed here.

Impetus will be covering the ParaMatildas World Cup campaign – keep an eye out on our social media @ImpetusFootball on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for articles.


Above: The ParaMatildas squad. Photo: ParaMatildas
1 (GK)Holly SAUNDERS19Sydney, NSWFT1
3Tahlia BLANSHARD21Jilliby, NSWFT2
4Charlize TRAN15Sydney, NSWFT2
5Lainee HARRISON18Newcastle, NSWTBC
6 (GK)Katelyn SMITH26Perth, WATBC
7Eloise NORTHAM19Sydney, NSWTBC
8Matilda MASON30Canberra, ACTFT2
10Georgia BEIKOFF29Newcastle, NSWFT2

Young Matildas To Open U20 World Cup

Above: The Young Matildas squad that played New Zealand recently. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Football Australia.

The Young Matildas will face host nation Costa Rica to open the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica at the Estadio Nacional, San Jose on 10 August 2022. 

The Final Draw for the competition took place today at the Teatro Nacional in San José, one of the two host cities for the tournament.

Australia’s Group A schedule will see them also take on South American champions Brazil (13 August) and UEFA’s Spain (16 August).

Head coach Leah Blayney conveyed her anticipation for the tournament following the draw. 

“We’re looking forward to facing Costa Rica in the opening match at the Estadio Nacional.  What an exciting time for women’s football,” Blayney said.  “We’re going into every match respecting all our opponents and we will now prepare accordingly.”

“It’s going to be an incredible experience, already during our time in Costa Rica, the people and the community have made us feel welcome.  Returning in August and playing with this atmosphere is going to be very special.”

CommBank Young Matildas midfielder Sarah Hunter spoke about looking forward to playing some of the world’s best youth national teams in less than 100 days’ time. 

Above: Inside the Young Matildas huddle. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Football Australia.

“The draw makes our participation in the U20 Women’s World Cup feel very real.  Knowing who our opponents are allows us to fully focus on preparation to be ready for the competition,” Hunter said.  

“Costa Rica as the host nation obviously will have strong support which will make the atmosphere electric.  Being a part of the opening match with them will be an experience for us to remember and a chance to set the tone for the rest of our tournament. 

“Australia and Brazil have a great rivalry in women’s football.  They have such rich history in World Cups, and they will present a wonderful challenge for us, particularly as it will be the first time our group will face a South American nation.

“Finally, Spain is probably the benchmark for women’s football right now so getting the opportunity to play them at a major tournament is amazing to think about.” 

Running from 10 to 28 August 2022, the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup features 16 nations drawn into four groups of four teams.  The top two finishers in each group will advance to the knockout stages, commencing on 20 August 2022. 

The Young Matildas were drawn out of Pot 4 which included the Netherlands, Canada, and Colombia.  The nations were placed in pots based on their previous showings at recent tournaments. 

Costa RicaGermanyFranceJapan
SpainNew ZealandCanadaGhana
BrazilMexicoKorea RepublicUSA

2022 will mark the 10th edition of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup with Australia set to make their fourth appearance at the youth championships, reaching the quarter-finals on two occasions (2002, 2004).  Their most recent appearance was in 2006 with Blayney a member of that squad. 

Australia will continue their preparations for the tournament next week when they assemble for a training camp in Sydney. 


Costa Rica v Australia
Date: Wednesday, 10 August 2022 (local)
Venue: Estadio Nacional, San Jose

Brazil v Australia
Date: Saturday, 13 August 2022 (local)
Venue: Morera Soto, Alajuela

Australia v Spain
Date: Tuesday, 16 August 2022 (local)
Venue: Morera Soto, Alajuela

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