Several northern NSW players have earned selection in upcoming elite games with a view towards national team selection in the Junior and Young Matildas.
Football Australia have announced a 36-player under-17s squad for an elite match at Football NSW headquarters, Valentine Sports Park, Glenwood on 3 March.
Six Northern NSW Football representatives were chosen in the squad including Josie Allan from Charlestown, Boolaroo’s Lara Gooch, Sara Knowles from Raymond Terrace, Macquarie Hills’ Chloe Walandouw, Zoe Karipidis (Newcastle Jets Academy) and Charlestown’s Madeline Howard (Adamstown Rosebud JFC WPL).
The match will assist Football Australia’s national team staff identify players for future selection in the Junior Matildas squad.
A further four northern NSW players in Armidale’s Elizabeth Fraser (Northern Inland Academy of Sport), Emma O’Hagan from Whitebridge, Thornton’s Annabella Thornton and Evie Horgan from Mayfield (Newcastle Jets Academy) were also chosen in an extended 82-player squad that Football Australia will continue to monitor throughout 2021.
Northern NSW Football had the second highest representation across the member federations with its 10 players selected.
Northern NSW Football have also enjoyed selection joy at under-20s level, with seven players chosen as part of a 29-player Young Matildas elite inter-squad match.
Kirsty Fenton from Blackalls Park, Cooranbong’s Milan Hammond, Josie Morley from Gillieston Heights, Tiahna Robertson (Newcastle Jets Academy), Leia Puxty (Adamstown Rosebud JFC WPL) and Football Mid North Coast products Mia Bales (Mid Coast FC boys) and Hannah Jones (Sydney University FC) will feature in the under-20s match at Valentine Sports Park on 10 March.
NNSWF Head of Football Development Peter Hayes said the selections offered wonderful opportunities for young, talented northern NSW players.
“It shows that our processes are working to an extent and that Football Australia are encouraged by what they see from players from this area,” Haynes said.
“On top of that, the Newcastle Jets are clearly doing a good job with their academy and our clubs are starting to bridge the gap which is excellent.
“We need to continue to keep working hard to ensure we have higher representation across boys and girls representative teams moving forward.”
Haynes was also excited that the selections would be the first activity that Northern NSW Football would use some of the money allocated to the NSW government’s talent identification and youth development fund to help young talented female players.
“This is the first activity where this funding will really come into play and we’ll be able to use it to help players access these types of opportunities,” Haynes said.
“We’ll be able to invest in the little things that make these sorts of activities more accessible for players and their parents and help players perform at the highest level.”