Five Canberra United Players have been selected by Alen Stajcic for a Westfield Matildas training camp beginning this week at the Australian Institute of Sport.
17-Year old Grace Maher, uncapped at Senior level, has been picked alongside Emma Checker, Hayley Raso, Lisa De Vanna and Michelle Heyman.
The selection comes as just reward for all five players, following a stellar Canberra United season which saw the club claim a record third W-League Premiership.
Head Coach Rae Dower was over the moon about the selections, which were a good indicator of the potential of squad she assembled in her final Canberra United season.
“I’m extremely proud and thrilled,” she said, ” to see the inclusion of 5 of our Canberra United players into the opening Matilda’s camp in preparation for the upcoming Algarve Cup.”
After an injury to Jasmyne Spencer in Round Three of the Westfield W-League, Dower handed Maher the reigns in midfield and the 17 year-old did not look back.
Maher led the Westfield W-League in assists in what became a breakout season for her, with her high level of play drawing accolades from across the footballing community.
Checker returned from a serious knee injury at the end of 2016, and cemented a spot for herself in the starting line up with a series of strong displays at the back.
Taking on her second stint at United, Raso impressed once more with her pace and trickery, and her ability to consistently switch wings as directed. Often deployed in a wing-back role too, her tenacity and attitude were hallmarks of strong defensive showings.
Despite picking up a serious ankle injury at Melbourne Victory in December, Co-captain Heyman continued her role off the field with her leadership, after starting the season in good form including two goals against Newcastle United.
United were joined by De Vanna part way through the season as Rae Dower brought in the three-time W-League winner to add an experienced edge to the young squad.
The Matildas striker brought a game-changing burst of pace and trickery to the match every time she came on as she helped drive United’s run to the Premiership.
“Having seen first hand the hard work and commitment the players put into their recent W-League season, it is a just reward for their outstanding contribution to our team success in winning a record third Premiers Plate for Canberra United,” Dower said.
The camp kicks off this week at the Australian Institute of Sport, with an open training session available for viewing at 4pm Wednesday.