The Australian Olympic Committee has selected nine Queenslanders in an 18-strong Matildas squad set to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The Maroon Matildas are goalkeeper Teagan Micah, veteran defenders Clare Polkinghorne and Aivi Luik, midfielders Kyra Cooney-Cross, Elise Kellond-Knight and Tameka Yallop, and forwards Hayley Raso, Emily Gielnik and Mary Fowler.
They will be joined in camp by fellow Queenslanders Mackenzie Arnold and Laura Brock, who were selected as travelling reserves.
Four players – Kellond-Knight, Luik, Raso and Yallop – were born or raised on the Gold Coast, with Luik and Raso both coming through the ranks at Palm Beach SC.
Micah, Polkinghorne and Gielnik were born or raised in Brisbane, while Cooney-Cross was born in Brisbane and started playing on the Sunshine Coast.
18-year-old Fowler, the youngest member of the squad, was born in Cairns and played junior football at Leichhardt Lions FC.
Queensland is also well represented in the Matildas coaching staff, with Assistant Coach Mel Andreatta, Goalkeeper Coach John Gorza and Head Physiotherapist Dave Battersby all hailing from the Sunshine State.
QAS Mentor and Junior Matildas Head Coach Rae Dower said the latest squad continues Queensland’s proud history of contributing players to national teams in women’s football.
“To have half of this Matildas Olympic team made up of Queenslanders is a great reflection on the player pathway programs we have in place,” said Dower.
“Most of these women have spent time training and playing through the Queensland Academy of Sport program, which I’m sure will provide huge inspiration for our current QAS players.
“Whether these Matildas were born here, raised here or played their junior football here, Queenslanders are proud of their achievements, and we can’t wait to cheer them on at the Tokyo Olympics.”
Football Queensland CEO Robert Cavallucci congratulated the Maroon Matildas on Olympic selection.
“Queensland families from across the state will be overjoyed at this squad announcement, with the players hailing from the Gold Coast to Cairns,” said Cavallucci.
“The Matildas are one of Australia’s best-loved national teams and I know Queenslanders are excited to follow their progress in Tokyo.”
The Matildas open their campaign on 21 July against New Zealand.