De Vanna, Chidiac, and Cooney-Cross amongst call-ups for Matildas’ Talent ID Camp

The Matildas’ greatest ever goalscorer is set to return to the international fold; Lisa De Vanna highlighting the 26-player group named by assistant national team boss Melissa Andreatta for an upcoming Football Australia Women’s Talent Identification Camp.

Set to be staged in Sydney from May 4-7, the camp looms as one of the last and best opportunities for domestically-based players to break into the Australian 18-player squad for the coming Olympic Games. 

Due to regulations put in place by the national federation in the face COVID-related restrictions, Matildas’ head coach Tony Gustavsson was prevented from selecting players signed with domestic clubs for recent friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands – which Australia lost 5-0 and 5-2 respectively.

It’s the second such camp to be conducted by Football Australia in the past six months, with a previous iteration held under the eyes of Andreatta ahead of the W-League season in November. 

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“Last November we expressed a commitment to craft more opportunities for Australian-based players to demonstrate their ability to enhance the national team and I am delighted that we are able to deliver on this commitment,” Andreatta said.  

“Many of the selected players were in contention to be a part of the April FIFA window before the health and safety protocols enforced deemed them ineligible. It has been fantastic to see how they have responded to the disappointment and highlights the character in the group.” 

“This Women’s Talent ID Camp is part of a raft of initiatives Football Australia have put into effect to create high performance environments to allow for excellence to shine.” 

Sitting on 150 international caps – just one shy of Cheryl Sainsbury’s record – De Vanna was last a part of the international setup as a substitute during the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. She signed with Italian side Fiorentina at the behest of then-Matildas’ boss Ante Milicic, only for the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to force her – like the rest of Italy – into lockdown. 

She eventually returned to Melbourne and played an important role for Jeff Hopkins’ title winning Victory side. 

Melbourne City’s Alex Chidiac, with 17 national team call-ups, is the next most experienced senior international amongst the 26-players set to assemble in Sydney, while ten-time capped Western Sydney Wanderer defender Caitlin Cooper is the only other figure to break double digits. 

The well-known figures of Georgia Yeoman-Dale and Jenna McCormick are also included as part of the 26-player list; which features a horde of some of Australia’s most exciting, young, and uncapped talent.

W-League Golden Boot runner-up Michelle Heyman, however, is absent due to injury.

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“From a coaching perspective we need to concentrate on finding players that can step up to the international standard,” Andreatta said. 

“On finding those players that can help assist the team in showing that attacking, entertaining, hard defending style of football that we want as our identity, and that we know helps us to win games.” 

“This Talent ID camp will be an excellent opportunity for the invited players to embrace this challenge and show us they can play at a really good tempo, at speed, with match intelligence, a good presence and a hard approach to the game.  I’m excited to see what they can do.”

Six players from newly crowned W-League champions Melbourne Victory have been included amongst the call-ups, with De Vanna joined by captain Angela Beard, PFA Team of the Season captain Kyra Cooney-Cross, and youngsters Melina Ayres, MelindaJ Barbieri, and Polly Doran. 

Vanquished Grand Finalists Sydney FC will have four representatives – once-capped Rachel Lowe the only one of the quartet so have senior national team experience – while Canberra United will also send four – including 16-year-old defender Jessika Nash. 

Brisbane Roar, and Western Sydney Wanderers will send three players, Adelaide United and Melbourne City two and Newcastle Jets a sole representative in the form of Tara Andrews. 

The Matildas were last week drawn alongside New Zealand, Sweden and defending World Cup champions the United States for the Tokyo Olympics; a campaign that will begin against the Football Ferns on July 21. 

26-Player Training Squad | May 2021 | Women’s Talent ID Camp | Sydney, Australia 

Name2020/21 W-League ClubPositionCaps (goals)
Tara ANDREWSNewcastle JetsForward2 (0)
Melina AYRESMelbourne VictoryForward
Melindaj BARBIERIMelbourne VictoryMidfielder
Angela BEARDMelbourne VictoryDefender
Alex CHIDIACMelbourne CityMidfielder17 (1)
Emily CONDONAdelaide UnitedMidfielder1 (0)
Kyra COONEY-CROSSMelbourne VictoryMidfielder
Caitlin COOPERWestern Sydney WanderersDefender10 (2)
Isobel DALTONBrisbane RoarMidfielder
Lisa DE VANNAMelbourne VictoryForward150 (47)
Polly DORANMelbourne VictoryMidfielder
Nickoletta FLANNERYCanberra UnitedForward
Winonah HEATLEYBrisbane RoarDefender
Laura HUGHESCanberra UnitedMidfielder
Sally JAMESCanberra UnitedGoalkeeper
Rachel LOWESydney FCForward1 (0)
Jenna MCCORMICKMelbourne CityDefender4 (0)
Matilda MCNAMARAAdelaide UnitedDefender
Jessika NASHCanberra UnitedDefender
Courtney NEVINWestern Sydney WanderersDefender
Jamilla RANKINBrisbane RoarDefender
Remy SIEMSENSydney FCForward
Clare WHEELERSydney FCMidfielder
Jada WHYMANSydney FCGoalkeeper
Sarah WILLACYWestern Sydney WanderersGoalkeeper
Georgia YEOMAN-DALEWestern Sydney WanderersDefender5 (0)

Header Image Credit: Ann Odong/Football Australia

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