Liberty A-League players dominate Australia’s U23 squad for Euro tour

More than half of Australia’s Under-23 women’s squad consists of Liberty A-League players as the future Matildas hopefuls embark on a two-game tour of Europe.

Australia U23 head coach Melissa Andreatta named a 24-player squad, with 16 from the A-League Women for a Euro training camp and games against AC Milan (September 23 AEST) and Scotland’s U23 national team (September 26 AEST) later this month.

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Melbourne City sensation Daniela Galic, Western United star Alana Cerne, Adelaide United’s Emilia Murray and Perth Glory midfielder Hana Lowry are among the locally-based players in the squad.

Meanwhile, Mackenzie Hawkesby (Brighton and Hove Albion), Charli Rule (Brighton and Hove Albion), Sarah Hunter (Paris FC), Polly Doran (Crystal Palace), Chelsea Dawber (Norrkoping), Anna Margraf (Sporting De Huelva), Amy Sayer (Kristianstads DFF) and Winonah Heatley (Nordsjaelland) are the overseas-based members.

“The recent FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ demonstrated just how rapidly women’s football is advancing in terms of the quality on the pitch,” Andreatta said. 

“The U-23 Women’s National Team program is a vital step for us as a nation to continue the evolution of players in that crucial age group.

“It not only provides the honour of being able to represent Australia but also the opportunity to gain invaluable experience at international level which is difficult to replicate in any other forum.” 

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Andreatta added: “In selecting the squad, we looked to reward players who have shown consistent form over a period of time in international leagues, the A-League Women’s and National Premier Leagues.

“Taking on AC Milan and Scotland presents a unique occasion for these players to face quality opposition and then to test themselves against those in their age group to learn about how they can continue to develop their international play.  

“These matches will assist in that critical transitioning work from youth to senior level, particularly for a cohort for whom very few would have the diversity of opponents that European teams present.  

“The camp provides them with good quality match minutes and demonstrates continued investment by Football Australia in players to provide them with the best platform for success in the advent of a senior team call-up.” 

Match schedule

AC Milan Women’s v Australia U-23 WNT
Date: Fri, 22 September 2023 (local) / Saturday, 23 September (AEST)
Kick-Off:  5.30pm (local) / 1:30am (AEST)

Australia U23 WNT v Scotland U-23 WNT
Date: Tues, 26 September 2023
Venue:  AIS European Training Centre, Varese
Kick-Off: 11:30am (local) / 7:30pm (AEST)

Australia U23 squad
Alexia APOSTOLAKISDefenderWestern Sydney Wanderers / Football NSW
Alana CERNEDefenderWestern United / Football Victoria
Chelsea DAWBERForwardNorrkoping / Football South Australia
Polly DORANDefenderCrystal Palace / Football Victoria
Daniela GALICMidfielderMelbourne City / Football NSW
Annalee GROVEGoalkeeperAdelaide United / Northern NSW Football
Mackenzie HAWKESBYMidfielderBrighton & Hove Albion / Football NSW
Winonah HEATLEYDefenderNordsjaelland / Football Queensland
Bryleeh HENRYForwardMelbourne City / Football NSW
Sarah HUNTERMidfielderParis FC / Football NSW
Sally JAMESGoalkeeperPerth Glory / Capital Football
Kahli JOHNSONForwardWestern United / Football NSW
Chloe LINCOLNGoalkeeperCanberra United / Football NSW
Hana LOWRYMidfielderPerth Glory / Football West
Anna MARGRAFDefenderSporting De Huelva / Football Queensland
Holly MCNAMARAForwardMelbourne City / Football NSW
Alana MURPHYMidfielderMelbourne Victory / Football Victoria
Emilia MURRAYForwardAdelaide United / Football South Australia
Jessica NASHDefenderMelbourne Victory / Football NSW
Charlize RULEDefenderBrighton & Hove Albion / Football NSW
Amy SAYERMidfielderKristianstads DFF / Football NSW
Naomi THOMAS-CHINNAMADefenderMelbourne City / Football Victoria
Ella TONKINDefenderAdelaide United / Football South Australia
Kaitlyn TORPEYDefenderMelbourne City / Football Queensland