The Westfield Junior Matildas ramp up their qualification for the 2019 AFC U16 Women’s Championship with matches against Palestine, Indonesia, Kyrgyz Republic and Chinese Tapei next week.
The matches in Bishkek are set to highlight some of the finest emerging Junior Matildas' talent that could soon be making waves in the Westfield W-League.
A host of rising Westfield W-League stars have made an impression on the competition as burgeoning Junior Matildas – and here’s five of the best.
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Princess Ibini burst onto the Westfield W-League scene as a 15-year-old for Sydney FC and would go on to start in the club’s 2015/16 Grand Final defeat to Melbourne City.
She’s rarely looked back since and has been a permanent fixture in the Sky Blues attacking line up in the following two seasons.
A speedy attacker who has been a key attacker for the Junior Matildas in recent times, Ibini could well prove to a big hit for the senior team in the years to come.
Amy Sayer’s boundless potential was realised as early as November 2016, when she was called up to the Young Matildas squad as a 14-year-old.
Since then, Sayer has gone on to make her name as one of the brightest young attacking midfielders in the country.
The 16-year-old was recently called up to the Westfield Matildas’ Tournament of Nations squad, while her maiden Westfield W-League season for Canberra United last year was one to savour.
She’ll be looking to light up the competition with Sydney FC this season after signing for the Sky Blues last week.
At just 15 years of age, Kyra Cooney-Cross was the youngest player in Melbourne Victory’s Westfield W-League squad last season.
She was described by coach Jeff Hopkins as ‘one of the biggest talents in her age group’, and didn’t take long for Westfield W-League crowds to see why.
Cooney-Cross featured in all 12 of Victory’s fixtures, donned the number ten jersey with impressive verve and found the back of the net twice in a strong campaign for Melbourne.
Melina Ayres made her Westfield W-League debut for Melbourne City in 2015 and has already developed a reputation as one of the competition's most dangerous sharpshooters.
This was made clear in the 2017/18 campaign, where the Melbourne Victory forward rifled in two goal of the season contenders against Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City.
Those strikes saw Ayres beat two Westfield Matildas goalkeepers in Lydia Williams and Mackenzie Arnold, highlighting her ability to mix it with the competition’s seasoned professionals.
The 17-year-old is already a Westfield W-League title winner with Melbourne City, and it could prove to be the first of many for Jacynta Galabadaarachchi.
A talented attacker, Galabadaarachchi spent much of last year training with a number of prominent clubs in England before agreeing terms with Perth Glory for the Westfield W-League 2018/19 campaign.
She was handed her first Westfield Matildas call up in February 2017, and will be a great chance to force her way into the Perth starting line up this season.