Four young Newcastle Jets stars are set to soar into international stardom, as they prepare for the 2019 AFC U-16 Women’s Championship Qualifiers this week in the Kyrgyz Republic.
The group – Teagan Douglas, Kirsty Fenton, Ruby Jones and Josie Morley – caught the eyes of the national team selectors at a championship event in Coffs Harbour earlier in 2018, with all four impressing for the Jets academy team.
The Hunter cohort and their team will now compete in Group D of the 2019 AFC U16 Women’s Championship Qualifiers, facing off against Palestine, Indonesia, Kyrgyz Republic, and Chinese Taipei.
Finishing first in Group D would guarantee the Junior Matildas a place at next year’s AFC U-16 Women’s Championship, which will be held in Thailand.
The Jets also boast a number of young players who haven’t officially been selected for Matildas sides as of yet, but are on the Young Matildas list of ones to watch.
These include Emma Bates, Tiahna Robertson, Mona Walker, Amy Parkinson, Renee Poutney, Paige Kingston-Hogg, Annie Grove, Tessa Tamplin, and Molly Arens, all of whom could find themselves pulling on the Australian gold in the near future.
It’s a huge positive for the club, chief executive Lawrie McKinna said earlier this week, and praised departing academy director Mike Cooper for the boost he’d brought to the squad.
“Mike has done a lot of good work with our junior players, and it’s showing in how many young Jets are out there representing their country,” McKinna said.
“Our four girls were outstanding in the NPL NSW under 17s competition this season. When you add the nearly two-dozen players on the national team shortlist, it says a lot about how well our Academy is doing.”
Next year’s AFC U16 Women’s Championship will double as the qualification competition for the 2020 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup, which will be held in a yet to be determined nation.
The Young Matildas’ first match of the qualifiers will be against Palestine this afternoon (5pm AEST) at Dolon Omurzakov Stadium.
They will face Indonesia on Friday, the Kyrgyz Republic on Friday and Chinese Taipei on Sunday in the final group qualifying match. All matches will be played at 5pm AEST.
All games will be streamed live and free on matildas.footballaustralia.com.au.