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Young Matilda hopefuls assemble in Canberra

ASA: Twenty-five of the country’s best female youth players will assemble at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra in early April, all vying for a berth in the Australian U-19 Team (the ‘Young Matildas ‘) to contest the 2004 Oceania U-19 Women’s Qualifying Tournament in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on 20-24 April.

National Women’s Coach Adrian Santrac will utilise the Young Matildas Squad Camp for both the finalisation of team selections and lead-in preparation for the qualifying event, the winner of which qualifies for the 2nd FIFA U19 Women’s World Championship to be staged in Thailand this November.

Several days into the two-week camp, scheduled for 5-18 April, the squad will be cut and the Young Matildas Team announced. The team will then depart for Papua New Guinea on 19 April.

Two of the squad – Leah Blayney and Selin Kuralay – have already represented their country at full senior level, having celebrated their international debut for the Matildas at last month’s Australia Cup in Brisbane, and then travelling to Fiji to help the Matildas qualify for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

Kuralay is also one of four in the squad – along with Elissia Canham, Catherine Cannuli, and Emma Davison – who were members of the 2002 U19 World Championship side. The remainder of the players are aiming for their first ever taste of international football.

All but four of the players participated in January’s thirty-player National Youth Selection Camp at the AIS. Christina Papageorgiou was named for the camp but did not attend due to injury, whilst Nenita Burgess, Kim Carroll, and Kara Mowbray gain their first opportunity under Santrac.

“Most of these players are coming back for a second look, some for the first time, and they all have the opportunity to be selected for the qualifiers with the expectation that we’ll qualify for the youth world cup in Thailand,” said Santrac. “The first component of this camp by necessity has to be quick in terms of selecting the final squad. Once that’s done, we’ll be going into overdrive with developing our understanding, building on the tactical component from the previous camp. We’ll be focusing very strongly on tactics and everyone’s roles in order that by the first game, we’ll be ready for the opposition.”

Three nations will contest the 2004 OFC U19 Women’s Qualifying Tournament to be held 20-24 April, Australia kicking off its campaign on 22 April against Solomon Islands, followed by their match against hosts Papua New Guinea on 24 April.

The Young Matildas were successful in the inaugural U-19 qualifiers in 2002 in Tonga, defeating New Zealand in the final of the seven-team event. Australia went on to finish an impressive 5th at the 2002 FIFA U19 Women’s World Championship in Canada, after going down in extra-time of their quarterfinal match against Brazil.

SQUAD LIST – YOUNG MATILDAS SQUAD CAMP, APRIL 2004 :

Players (25) : State (current residence) Hometown Pos DOB

Julia BAZI NSW Sydney D 20/10/85

Ellen BEAUMONT QLD Brisbane D 14/07/85

Leah BLAYNEY NSW Blue Mountains M 28/10/86

Nenita BURGESS SA Adelaide M 29/09/85

Elissia CANHAM QLD Brisbane D 29/04/85

Catherine CANNULI NSW Sydney F 03/03/86

Kim CARROLL QLD Tully D 02/09/87

Renee CARTWRIGHT NSW Crookwell F 03/02/86

Amy CHAPMAN ACT Albury F 12/02/87

Lauren COLTHORPE NNSW Newcastle M 25/10/85

Emma DAVISON QLD Sydney D 04/05/85

Yasmin FAVRETTI NSW Sydney GK 12/12/85

Katie HILDER NSW Sydney F 25/03/85

Briony HOLCOMBE NSW Central Coast M 27/02/86

Leena KHAMIS NSW Sydney F 19/06/86

Selin KURALAY QLD Melbourne F 25/01/85

Kylie LEDBROOK NSW Sydney M 20/03/86

Alison LOGUE NNSW Newcastle GK 06/03/87

Cian MACIEJEWSKI ACT Ulladulla D 14/06/87

Kara MOWBRAY QLD Brisbane D 07/05/85

Claire O’SHEA VIC Bendigo GK 02/12/85

Christina PAPAGEORGIOU SA Adelaide M 06/05/85

Alannah REED QLD Cairns F 28/01/88

Sally SHIPARD NSW Wagga Wagga M 20/10/87

Jenna TRISTRAM NNSW Coffs Harbour F 28/10/86

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