Young guns Hayley Taylor-Young and Sasha Grove have both been invited to attend a training camp with the Future Matildas program after great seasons with Canberra United Academy in Capital Football's NPLW.
The Future Matildas program, which is led by Young Matildas head coach Leah Blayney, was launched in 2018 to help develop the next generation of Australia’s elite female footballers, providing a tailored training environment for selected 15 to 20-year-old players.
A week after signing with Canberra United for her second Westfield W-League season, Hayley Taylor-Young said she was excited to attend another Future Matildas camp. The 18-year-old said the call-up felt like a reward for all the hard work she had put in to improve her game.
"A lot of people at Canberra United Academy have put their faith in me and given me every opportunity to become a better player so when a chance like this comes along it is exciting and daunting at the same time," Taylor-Young said.
"It is a huge learning experience and will give me a better idea of what I need to do to continue to improve as a player. I hope it will lift me to the level that will give me that permanent and confident step up to Westfield W-League and possibly beyond."
15-year-old Sasha Grove, who has been with the Canberra United Academy for five years, said she felt honoured to be selected to attend the Future Matildas program.
"It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase my own abilities and assets, so for that, I’m really keen," Grove said. "There is a wealth of experience and talent outside of Canberra, so I’m really hoping to learn as much as I can from not only the other girls attending but from Leah as well."
Canberra United head coach Vicki Linton was delighted for her two young chargers.
"It is a great opportunity for Hayley and Sasha to be involved in a week-long ‘camp’ with the Future Matildas program," Linton said. "Rather than being a one-off training session or game, this will allow them to settle in a little bit more and get a few training sessions in before playing a match.
"It will help the players (and coaches) assess where they are at compared with other players nationally, as well as accelerate the players' development – not just while they are in the environment training at a higher level, but also when they come back into the CUA program."
Linton said providing young local footballers a chance to showcase their skills in front of the Young Matildas head coach is an important component of the Academy.
"Leah [Blayney] has been in regular contact with CUA regarding players within the program and she has been able to watch the players compete in Capital Football's NPLW," Linton said. "I also took the opportunity while I was in Sydney to attend a couple of Future Matilda training sessions to view the level of the players and the training environment.
"Being connected with the Youth National Team framework and preparing players to be included in these types of programs is an important component of the Canberra United Academy program."