Bright young Victorian football stars Nia Stamatopoulos and Paige Zois are about to add to their frequent flyer points after winning selection in the 23 player Junior Matildas squad to represent Australia at the 2019 AFC U-16 Womens Championship in Thailand beginning in the middle of this month.
The two players were also part of the Junior Matildas squad which won through two rounds of qualifiers late last year and earlier this year, which took them to remote Kyrgyzstan, and Laos. Across those two rounds of qualifiers, the team performed impressively winning all seven of their matches and scoring 46 goals and conceding none along the way.
More recently, they prepared for the upcoming AFC championships in Thailand, with a three game tour of the Pacific as well as a training camp on the Gold Coast.
Junior Matilda Head coach Rae Dower said upon announcing the squad on Wednesday,
“I’m thrilled to announce the Westfield Junior Matildas’ squad to contest the upcoming AFC U-16 Women’s Championship in Thailand.”
“We’ve got a really well balanced team on and off the field and the chemistry developed over the last 12 months together will serve us well in really trying conditions in Thailand.
“During our ‘Pacific Step-Up Tour’ and recently completed camp on the Gold Coast, we’ve been able to trial a number of players from across the group and believe we’ve developed substantial depth across the park.
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“We’re excited to play Japan first up and have been working hard on areas of our game we can be successful. We know the players and staff will represent Australia with passion and pride, and are confident that the principles we’ve been working on will give us the best opportunity to be successful in Thailand.”
At stake in Thailand, is not just the AFC championship, but the ultimate goal which is qualification for the 2020 FIFA U 17 Womens World Cup in India.
To qualify for the World Cup next year, the Junior Matildas must first finish in the top two in their group, comprising Japan, host nation Thailand and Bangladesh. They must then win the ensuing semi-final to qualify for the final. The other group of four consists of DPR Republic, Korea Republic, China and Vietnam. The Junior Matildas play their first group match against Japan on 15 September.
Westfield Junior Matildas 23-Player Squad | 2019 AFC U-16 Women’s Championship – Chonburi, Thailand
Alana JANCEVSKI: NTC Victoria/Football Victoria
Bryleeh HENRY: Football NSW Institute/Football NSW
Charlize RULE: Football NSW Institute/Football NSW
Charlotte FARMER: Queensland Academy of Sport/Football Queensland
Claudia MIHOCIC: NTC Victoria/Football Victoria
Darcey MALONE: Football NSW Institute/Football NSW
Emma ILIJOSKI: Gungahlin United FC/Capital Football
Georgia BEAUMONT: Queensland Academy of Sport/Football Queensland
Hana LOWRY: Perth Glory FC/Football West
Isabella WALLHEAD: Football West NTC/Football West
Jamilla RANKIN: Brisbane Roar FC/ Queensland Academy of Sport
Jessika NASH: Football NSW Institute/Football NSW
Jordan JASNOS: Football NSW Institute/Football NSW
Josie MORLEY: Newcastle Jets Academy/Northern NSW Football
Kirsty FENTON: Newcastle Jets Academy/Northern NSW Football
Mia BAILEY (Gk): Queensland Academy of Sport/Football Queensland
Mia MCGOVERN: Canberra United Academy/Capital Football
Miranda TEMPLEMAN (Gk): Football West NTC/Football West
Nia STAMATOPOULOS: NTC Victoria/Football Victoria
Paige ZOIS: NTC Victoria/Football Victoria
Ruby JONES (Gk): Newcastle Jets Academy/Northern NSW Football
Taneesha BAKER: Football West NTC/Football West
Tijan MCKENNA: Cockburn City/Football West NTC