Andreatta Confirms Final U23s Squad For AFF Championships

Impetus’ Ben Gilby heard from coach Mel Andreatta and defender Charli Grant as Australia’s squad for the AFF Championships was announced today.

Above: Mel Andreatta, who will lead the U23 Matildas side in the AFF Women’s Championships this month. Photo: Football Australia.

Head Coach Mel Andreatta has finalised Australia’s U-23 Representative Team to compete at the 2022 AFF Women’s Championships in Manila, Philippines.  

Australia will take 28 players to face the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia in Group A of the tournament commencing on 4th July 2022.  

The tournament is full of rapid fire matches, with group games coming every other day – and players will have little time to rest or prepare for the next game making it a real challenge.

Despite the obvious welfare issues, Andreatta sees nothing but positives for the squad, and expressed her anticipation of facing the best nations in the South-East Asian region and the opportunity ahead for the team.  

“It’s an exciting time and to be preparing for an international tournament is something I’ve been really looking forward to. I know this group of players are too,” Andreatta said.

“The 28 players that we’ve selected are some of our brightest young prospects in Australian football.  They have been selected as players that have performed strongly in the A-League Women’s season and then have moved into different environments and continued to perform consistently.  

“They have shown qualities that we’d like to see tested at the next level and potentially identify a player for the 2023 World Cup.”

Above: Mel Andreatta sees this tournament as a vital stepping stone towards potential World Cup squad selection. Photo: Football Australia.

All but two members of the squad are aged 23 and under with Larissa Crummer and Matilda McNamara selected. Six members of the squad have recorded full senior international appearances with eight players participating in the recent June FIFA Women’s International Window in Spain and Portugal with the CommBank Matildas.  

A further 15 players were featured in Leah Blayney’s Young Matildas squad that took part in the recent two-match international series between Australia and the Junior Football Ferns last month.  

“Tournaments like this I think are crucial in continued the development of footballers gaining invaluable knowledge of playing in tournament mode against top nations,” Andreatta added.

“Gaining vital match minutes, in the best possible environments, is something that we’ve known for a long time now is critical for the development of a player.  Through this tournament, in addition to the recent Matildas and Young Matildas camps, we are providing the next generation of footballers more chances to build their bank of competition experience.   

“There’s a lot that gets me excited about this group and their quality. These players have shown some unique qualities that we think could add to what we already have and create more depth and competition in the extended Matildas squad.  

“I’m eager to see these players take this opportunity with both hands and really test themselves against the best in South-East Asia.”  

Above: Charli Grant speaking about her selection for the U23 Matildas squad for the AFF Women’s Championship. Photo: Football Australia.

Charli Grant, who was one of the major plusses in last week’s international window senior games for the Matildas against Spain and Portugal is one of those who made the final squad and believes the opportunity has come at the right time for her.

“It’s really exciting to be part of another tournament and test myself against teams like the Philippines and Thailand.

Despite playing in the majority of her club side Rosengård’s pre-season Swedish Cup matches, Grant has been generally used as a substitute in the latter stages of Damallsvenskan matches, and the South Australian sees this month’s competition as a great chance to experience regular 90 minute action once more. Her selection therefore is a positive both for her personally, and for her club to be reminded of what she is capable of.

“It’s really important (for me) to get match minutes in my legs. It will be nice to have that experience.

“I’ve played with some of these girls before for Young Matildas, so it’s great to build those connections again – but it’s great to see the younger generation come through and see what they have got to offer.”

Despite being just 20 herself, Grant will be one of those players that that younger generation will be looking up to – it’s a sign of how far she has come in such a short period of time. Yet one can’t help but feel that the best is yet to come for Charli Grant.

Australia will kick off their tournament against hosts the Philippines on 4 July at Biñan Football Stadium in Biñan. 

Alexia APOSTOLAKISDefenderFootball NSW Institute / Football NSW
Chelsea BLISSETTDefenderLions FC on loan from Melbourne City FC / Football Victoria
Naomi CHINNAMADefenderBlacktown Spartans on loan from Melbourne City FC / Football Victoria
Larissa CRUMMERForwardCapalaba FC / Football QLD 
Leah DAVIDSONMidfielderAPIA Leichhardt on loan from Melbourne City FC / Football Queensland
Chelsie DAWBERForwardChicago Red Stars / Football South Australia
Jynaya DOS SANTOSForwardFootball NSW Institute / Football NSW
Daniela GALICMidfielderFootball NSW Institute / Football NSW
Sheridan GALLAGHERForwardIllawarra Stingrays / Football NSW
Katie GODDEN Forward DePaul University / Windlesham United 
Charlotte GRANTDefenderFC Rosengard / Football South Australia
Mackenzie HAWKESBYMidfielderSydney FC / Football NSW
Winonah HEATLEYDefenderSydney Olympic / Football QLD 
Sarah HUNTERMidfielderAPIA Leichhardt on loan from Sydney FC / Football NSW
Princess IBINI-ISEIForwardAPIA Leichhardt / Football NSW
Sally JAMES Goalkeeper Blacktown Spartans / Capital Football 
Caitlin KARIC ForwardFV Emerging Matildas / Football Victoria 
Abbey LEMONForwardBlacktown Spartans / Football NSW
Chloe LINCOLNGoalkeeperCanberra United Academy / Capital Football
Hana LOWRYMidfielderBlacktown Spartans on loan from Perth Glory / Football West
Matilda McNAMARADefenderAdelaide City FC / Football South Australia
Jessika NASHDefenderBlacktown Spartans / Football NSW
Jamilla RANKINDefenderBlacktown Spartans / NNSW Football
Cushla RUEDefenderSydney University FC / Football NSW 
Amy SAYERMidfielderStanford University / Football NSW
Ella TONKINDefenderNorthern Tigers / Football SA
Jada WHYMANGoalkeeperSydney Olympic / Football NSW
Paige ZOISMidfielderBulleen Lions on loan from Melbourne Victory / Football Victoria

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