Young stars take centre stage in Matildas' Olympics squad

Australia women's national team coach Alen Stajcic is banking on youth to bring home a medal from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games after the 18-player Matildas squad was announced Monday in Sydney.

Australia v New Zealand

Source: Getty Images

Stajcic repaid his faith in the same squad that secured Australia's qualification to the Olympics for the first time since the Athens games.

Veteran striker Lisa De Vanna (31) is the only player remaining from the 2004 team, while 16 year-old Ellie Carpenter the youngest athlete named to represent Australia in any sport in Rio.

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With an average age of 23 and an average of 47 appearances, Stajcic is confident his team will be a strong chance to medal at the games.

"We’ve shown in the past 12 months or so that we’re a competitive team now on the world stage and it’s up to us now to prove that we can take that next step and genuinely compete for medals,” Stajcic said.  

“We are in a very tough group with Canada being the reigning bronze medallists, Germany are a powerhouse and Zimbabwe are a bit of an unknown but having come through the African qualifiers we know they will be tough, powerful and unpredictable.” 

"Probably for the first time in this team’s history we are leaving out players that are in good form who could genuinely play and start in this side."


MATILDAS SQUAD IS


Goalkeepers: Lydia Williams (Houston Dash/Canberra United), Mackenzie Arnold (Perth Glory)

Defenders: Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane Roar), Laura Alleway (Orlando Pride / Melbourne City), Alanna Kennedy (WNY Flash / Sydney FC), Stephanie Catley (Orlando Pride / Melbourne City), Ellie Carpenter (Western Sydney Wanderers)

Midfielders: Elise Kellond-Knight (Potsdam Turbine), Emily van Egmond (FFC Frankfurt), Katrina Gorry (Brisbane Roar), Tameka Butt (Brisbane Roar), Caitlin Foord (Perth Glory), Chloe Logarzo (Eskilstuna United / Newcastle Jets)

Forwards: Lisa De Vanna (Melbourne City), Michelle Heyman (Canberra United), Kyah Simon (Boston Breakers / Sydney FC), Samantha Kerr (Sky Blue FC / Perth Glory), Larissa Crummer (Melbourne City)



“We’ve got to a point where there is a strong amount of depth in the team meaning good players miss out.”

The side will now head to Brazil where they will head into camp and play their final match in the lead-up to the Games against host nation Brazil on 24 July. 

“We are going to have a long preparation in Brazil and playing games is an important component of that," Stajcic said.

"We are very fortunate to get the chance to play against a top ranked team and one of the favourites for a medal in host nation Brazil.”


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Published 4 July 2016 at 12:12pm