Four young Victorian female footballers will join the cream of Australia’s young female players, when they gather at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra on Monday for a Junior Matildas training camp.
Junior Matildas coach Rae Dower has invited Nia Stamatopoulos, Grace Taranto, Claudia Mihocic and Paige Zois to participate in the training camp. Dower will use the camp to select a Junior Matildas squad to compete in the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship Qualifiers tournament in Kyrgyzstan beginning in the third week of September.
For Paige Zois, the invitation to attend the Junior Matildas training camp comes hot on the heels of her eye catching performances representing Victoria in the U 15 National Youth Championships in Coffs Harbour where she was awarded player of the tournament.
The versatile young midfielder currently plays her club football at South Melbourne FC in the W-NPL. Although she has represented her state on a number of occasions, it’s her first ever call up to a Junior Matildas training camp. When asked if she’s feeling nervous ahead of the camp, Zois replied like a seasoned professional: “I wouldn’t be human if I wasn’t nervous, however I just try to focus on those things that are in my control and not think too far ahead,” she said.
Asked if she’s feeling well prepared going into the camp, she told Neos Kosmos: “I’m feeling fit and strong and have just come from competing at the U15 National Championships in Coffs Harbour. Other than training everyday, maybe twice a day, I think we’ll be learning the game plan and key tactics.”
“It would be a dream come true to pull on the Australian jumper and represent my country. To be selected into the Junior Matilda’s would be a dream come true, as I love playing football and there’s no higher honour than to represent your country. I’m just looking forward to the experience ahead of me next week and making the most of the opportunity to train with the best girls in my age group from all over Australia.”