Canberra youngsters Emma Ilijoski and Mia McGovern have been selected in Rae Dower’s Westfield Junior Matildas squad that will become the first Australian national football team to visit the Pacific since the Caltex Socceroos in 2005 when they depart on a three match, three nation tour on Monday, 5 August 2019.
Their selection comes off the back of the 2019 NTC Challenge held in Canberra recently, where McGovern and Ilijsoki had excellent tournaments representing Capital Football under the tutelage of Antoni Jagarinec and Matt Moore.
Gungahlin United’s Ilijoski was rewarded for her excellent performances with the Capital Football Player of the Tournament award, while McGovern excelled throughout the week alongside a number of Canberra United Academy teammates.
In partnership with the Australian Government and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade as part of the ‘Pacific Step-Up’ and the Australia Pacific Sports Linkages Program, the Westfield Junior Matildas will visit Tonga, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands and play a match against the under 19 women’s national team in each country.
The Westfield Junior Matildas will be joined by an expanded travelling party led by International Relations Manager Kieran Lilley that will include Westfield W-League players Emma Checker and Hannah Brewer, match officials Lara Lee, Sarah Ho and Joanna Charaktis, FFA Girls Youth Development Manager Debbie Fisher and Football Queensland Women & Girls Development Officer Kerry Hammersley, as well as a media unit that includes the production company behind the KICK series, Gold Leaf Creative.
Over the past two weeks, Westfield Junior Matildas Head Coach Rae Dower has split her time between Coffs Harbour and Canberra, with the Westfield National Youth Championships and NTC Challenge competitions providing her the opportunity to see a number of players from across the country in person prior to selecting a travelling squad of twenty three.
Dower said: “I’m delighted to announce the Junior Matildas’ squad for the upcoming Pacific Step-Up Tour to Tonga, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands. This tour will provide the squad with valuable training and match conditions against opponents who play a different style of football, and will expose our players to a variety of environmental and football challenges that they will need to overcome.”
“The additional social and cultural benefits for the players and staff on a unique tour opportunity like this will help to build relationships with Australia and the South Pacific region. I am confident that they will be fabulous ambassadors for the FFA and for Australia, and that football will once again prove to be the game that brings the whole world together.”
First Assistant Secretary from the Office of the Pacific DFAT, Ms Kathy Klugman, said: “We are pleased to support the Junior Matildas’ tour of the Pacific. They are a source of inspiration for Australians, especially young women and girls. We hope through this experience the Junior Matildas and their Pacific opponents will continue to act as role models for their peers and communities across the Pacific.”
The Westfield Junior Matildas will use their tour of the Pacific in August as preparation for the 2019 AFC U-16 Women’s Championship, which will be held in Thailand in September.
The squad will report into camp in Sydney on Friday, 2 August 2019, before departing to the first country on the tour, Tonga, on Monday, 5 August 2019.
Westfield Junior Matildas 23-Player Squad | 2019 Pacific Step-Up Tour | Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands
|Emma ILIJOSKI||Gungahlin FC, ACT|
|Mia McGOVERN||Canberra United Academy, ACT|
|Jessika NASH||FNSW Institute, NSW|
|Darcey MALONE||FNSW Institute, NSW|
|Bryleeh HENRY||FNSW Institute, NSW|
|Charlize RULE||FNSW Institute, NSW|
|Jordan JASNOS||FNSW Institute, NSW|
|Chloe CARMICHAEL (GK)||Marconi FC, NSW|
|Charlotte FARMER||Brisbane Roar FC / Queensland Academy of Sport, QLD|
|Georgia BEAUMONT||Brisbane Roar FC / Queensland Academy of Sport, QLD|
|Jamilla RANKIN||Brisbane Roar FC / Queensland Academy of Sport, QLD|
|Alana MURPHY||Football Victoria NTC, VIC|
|Grace TARANTO||Football Victoria NTC, VIC|
|Paige ZOIS||Football Victoria NTC, VIC|
|Alana JANCEVSKI||Football Victoria NTC, VIC|
|Claudia MIHOCIC||Football Victoria NTC, VIC|
|Tijan MCKENNA||Football West NTC, WA|
|Taneesha BAKER||Football West NTC, WA|
|Miranda TEMPLEMAN (GK)||Football West NTC, WA|
|Hana LOWRY||Football West NTC, WA|
|Ruby JONES (GK)||Newcastle Jets Academy, NSW|
|Kirsty FENTON||Newcastle Jets Academy, NSW|
|Josie MORLEY||Newcastle Jets Academy, NSW|
Tonga U-19 Women’s National Team v Westfield Junior Matildas
Date: Thursday, 8 August 2019
Kick-Off: 1:00pm (local); 4.00pm (AEST)
Venue: Tonga Football Academy, Nuku’alofa, Tonga
Vanuatu U-19 Women’s National Team v Westfield Junior Matildas
Date: Monday, 12 August 2019
Kick-Off: Details to be finalised
Venue: Details to be finalised
Solomon Islands U-19 Women’s National Team v Westfield Junior Matildas
Date: Thursday, 15 August 2019
Kick-Off: 4:00pm (local); 5:00pm (AEST)
Venue: Lawson Tama Stadium, Honiara, Solomon Islands