So Tom Sermanni did tell me there would be 25-players at this camp, but given that five of his 29-squad that was announced by the FFA today are goalkeepers - that was about right in terms of field players. As mentioned in my pre-camp chat to Sermanni, which you can easily scroll down for, it's just below this post! it's now at the pointy-end of selection time.
Meet the players most likely to be representing Australia at the 2010 AFC Women's Asian Cup in China in May, and yes, there are some surprises in there.
Westfield Matildas squad list -Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Training Camp, AIS Football Fields, 14-17 January 2010, Teigen ALLEN (Sydney FC), Laura ALLEWAY (Melbourne Victory), Melissa BARBIERI (Melbourne Victory, GK), Leah BLAYNEY (Central Connecticut State University, USA), Ellie BRUSH (Canberra United), Joanne BURGESS (Brisbane Roar), Tameka BUTT (Brisbane Roar), Lauren COLTHORPE (Brisbane Roar), Casey DUMONT (Brisbane Roar, GK), Heather GARRIOCK (Sydney FC), Kathryn GILL (Perth Glory), Michelle HEYMAN (Central Coast Mariners), Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT (Brisbane Roar), Samantha KERR (Perth Glory), Leena KHAMIS (Sydney FC), Kylie LEDBROOK (Sydney FC), Aivi LUIK (Brisbane Roar), Collette McCALLUM (Perth Glory), Sian McLAREN (Adelaide United, GK), Kate McSHEA (Brisbane Roar), Ellyse PERRY (Canberra United), Clare POLKINGHORNE (Brisbane Roar), Karla REUTER (Brisbane Roar), Kyah SIMON (Sydney FC), Thea SLATYER (Canberra United), Emily VAN EGMOND (Canberra United), Sarah WALSH (Sydney FC), Lydia WILLIAMS (Canberra United, GK) and Emma WIRKUS (Perth Glory, GK).
The youngest: Teigen Allen (Sydney FC). The 15-year-old defender just pips Emily van Egmond, 16, and Sam Kerr, 16, to the post as the youngest in this group. All have played plenty of senior minutes this year in the W-League and dominated much-more senior opponents. It's Allen's first senior camp, while Kerr and van Egmond have both been there before.
The oldest: Jo Burgess (Brisbane Roar). The 30-year-old midfielder was outstanding for Brisbane Roar this season, creating chance after chance. She just comes in ahead of the Matildas no.1 keeper Melissa Barbieri, who reaches the 3-0 mark on January 20. An interesting time for the keepers' in the squad, Barbieri, Lydia Williams, Emma Wirkus, Sian McLaren and Casey Dumont. Although Barbieri I think is still the favourite.
The roughie: Leah Blayney (Central Connecticut State University, USA). The one great thing when it comes to US College graduates, just like Aivi Luik, is that they tend to have lots of stuff written about them on the web. As College sport is big business, although it's actually amateur, in the USA. So Blayney is from Katoomba, came through NSW academy programs and played in the old WNSL. She's also already played for the Young Matildas, at two FIFA under-20 World Cups, was involved in World Cup qualifiers and was a reserve player for the Athens 2004 Olympics. She played for Sydney FC in the first season of the W-League. But has mostly played college in the past three years and has excelled in the Northeast Conference women's soccer league. She's been named in three all-star teams and was named player of the year this season, with 10 goals and 13 assists. Will be interesting to see how she figures in the coming months as she leaves to go back to the USA almost straight after the camp. But she definitely wants to be there as she told the Blue Mountains Gazette. “Going to the Matildas training camp is an opportunity I’m thrilled about because I definitely want to play for the Matildas again," she said. Also could include Thea Slatyer in the roughie category. Although returning to Canberra United for the final three games, Slatyer only played 30minutes this season. After she played almost every game and vice-captained Canberra in the first season. She hasn't played that much football in the past year, since the first W-League season, but she is an experienced and confident defender who could definitely figure in the final mix. She was a starting member of the 2007 FIFA World Cup team.
W-League second-season starlets: Michelle Heyman (Central Coast Mariners), Ellie Brush (Canberra United), Laura Alleway (Melbourne Victory), Aivi Luik (Brisbane Roar), Sam Kerr (Perth Glory), Emily van Egmond (Canberra United), Teigen Allen (Sydney FC) Leena Khamis, (Sydney FC), Kylie Ledrook (Sydney FC). These are players that either were on the fringe or nowhere and made the cut thanks to a good second W-League season. Here's to the W-League for giving them that chance.
The missing Matildas: Where in the world is Lisa de Vanna? After Servet Uzunlar's stellar season in defence, surprising not to see her in there either.