The squad for the first Gold Fields State Girls Under 14 Team trip to China has been confirmed.
This is the first time Football West has been invited to send a girls team to the Jinshan International Youth Football Championships, which will take place between August 21-26.
The vast majority of the squad is made up of players from the Hyundai Football West NTC program and Head Coach Faye Chambers says the tournament will be a fantastic experience for the players, especially those who kick on and play representative football in the future.
“It’s great for the girls to get international experience at such a young age,” she said.
“It’s a huge opportunity. We had a girl last year, Tijan McKenna, who got into the (Junior) Matildas set-up and her first international tour was with Australia. So if you can have that exposure with the State Team then it will be hugely beneficial further down the line because it takes a lot of the unknown out of it.”
The trip will also be Chambers’ first abroad as a coach and she says she is looking forward to pitting her wits against coaches from overseas.
She added: “I’ve only ever coached here and the way things are done, when you go up against different States, the coaching is very uniform, the football language we use is pretty much all the same. Coming up against international competition, you don’t know what that’s going to be, so it’ll be quite a cool experience.”
As coach of the Hyundai NTC U14 Girls Team, Chambers knows a lot of the squad already.
“Yes, the majority are from Under 15 or Under 14 NTC team – some of the girls train up in the U15 NTC team for their own personal development. One girl is not part of the program, Isabela Rooney (Joondalup United),” she said.
The NTC U14s play in the Boys Under 13 Division One competition, facing strong teams such as Lynwood United, Carramar, Subiaco and Sorrento.
“It’s a good challenge for the girls, it’s very competitive and we are definitely not winning every game,” Chambers said.
“We win but it’s only by two or three goals, then we’re losing and we’re drawing, so it’s really good. The girls get to test everything they are learning during the week in all aspects of the game.
“The 15s are in the Women’s Premier Under 23s, which is the Women’s Premier reserves. The sides are Under 23 but they can have a couple of players older, so on the whole they are going up against women. They are holding their own and probably getting a few more results than the 14s but physically it’s tough.
“For the 14s it more about intensity as the boys are quicker, so we get that side of the game.”
This Gold Fields State squad will be away from August 19-28. The Jinshan Championships will consist of approximately 4-6 games, depending on results, plus a pre-tournament game against a local club that is to be confirmed.
Head Coach: Faye Chambers
Assistant Coach: Dylan Cope
Team Manager: Lisa Byrne