Rising A-Leagues stars aplenty in Young Matildas squad selected for New Zealand tour

Young Matildas head coach Leah Blayney has included an abundance of Liberty A-League talent in her 25-player squad set to take on Aotearoa New Zealand in an international series in mid-July.

The two-game series will ramp up the Young Matildas’ preparations for the upcoming FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, set to take place in Colombia from August 31 to September 22, 2024.

Blayney’s squad includes five players called up to the Young Matildas for the very first time: Ella Buchanan, who impressed for Western Sydney Wanderers in the Liberty A-League last season, Melbourne Victory’s Rosie Curtis, Newcastle Jets’ Emma Dundas, Adelaide University striker Tanaye Morris and Brisbane Roar’s Alicia Woods.

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Ella Buchanan.

Joining the first-time squad members is an assembly of Young Matildas mainstays well known to Liberty A-League fans, including sisters Indiana and Jynaya Dos Santos, Georgia Cassidy, Alexia Apostolakis, Shay Hollman, Kahli Johnson, Peta Trimis, Jessika Nash and Naomi Thomas-Chinnama.

Meantime there’s good news for Adelaide United forward Emilia Murray who returns to the Young Matildas fold after an injury-hampered campaign at the Reds.

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Emilia Murray.

Young Matildas head coach Blayney says the tour of New Zealand offers the chance to both build on existing chemistry in the squad whilst bedding in newcomers ahead of the U20 World Cup.

“As we head into our next phase of preparation, it presents a real window to assess and evaluate our team progress as we focus in on the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup,” Blayney said.

“A significant portion of this squad has been with us throughout this most current cycle. They have a demonstrated ability to perform on the international stage and are currently doing everything in their control to be selected for the upcoming Youth World Cup.

“Since the conclusion of the AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup, we have also been diligently identifying potential new players while bolstering the players in our Future Matildas programs domestically and abroad.

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“Excitingly, we’ve been able to hold four Talent Development Scheme games nationwide, which assisted in spotting players with attributes that fit our playing style like Ella Buchanan, Rosie Curtis, Tanaye Morris and Alicia Woods.  Each new player brings a different dimension to the existing squad providing technical diversity and individual qualities within the playing group.

“With two quality matches against Aotearoa New Zealand, our technical team is eager to witness greater fluency in our play as a unit.  We’ll be looking to build on existing chemistry as well as further encourage our players to continue to play attacking positive entertaining football.  I want them to continue to play brave, positive and entertaining football.”

The Young Matildas play Aotearoa New Zealand in Wellington on Thursday, July 11 (12.30pm AEST) and Sunday, July 14 (12.30pm AEST). Sunday’s fixture is a behind-closed-doors match at New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport while the opening game of the series is set to take place at Jerry Collins Stadium.