Faces of the future: Victoria

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Victoria has kept up its impressive recent record with four players on the park in Australia’s win on Sunday as the U17 Matildas defeated New Zealand U17 2-1 in the first of two encounters.

Beattie Goad, Eleni Fakos, Maddy Stockdale and Jess Pitts all got minutes under their belt as the National Team got their preparations underway for the AFC U16 Championships (the qualifying tournament for the U17 Women’s World Cup).

Jess Pitts looks to attack. Image: Craig Stockdale

With another match against New Zealand on Wednesday new Head Coach Belinda Wilson has selected a 23 player squad for this camp.

The Football Federation Victoria (FFV) representative system has come a long way in the past few years and, in the women’s game especially, has turned itself from a laughing stock into a major force.

Whether the departure of influential Technical Director Sean Douglas will significantly impact the growing talent pool is yet to be seen but for the moment the Garden State’s development program is the envy of all Member Federations.

The talented trio of Brianna Davey, Ashley Brown and The Football Sack’s Steph Catley is the first of a new generation of Victorian women who have been bred to play a highly skilled, highly intelligent and highly entertaining brand of football.

Through a combination of being coached at National Training Centre, Women’s Premier League and Victorian Champions League levels, Football Federation Victoria has developed a possession based game at state level with the players reaping the benefits of maximum individual development.

We had a chat to Melbourne Victory W-League and Victorian NTC coach Dave Edmondson to talk about who will be next to step off the production line.

All four players have the potential to be involved in the Melbourne Victory set-up during the upcoming Westfield W-League season.

Beattie Goad
I’ve been able to watch Beattie play a number of times and it has always been a pleasure. Quick between the ears she looks a mature player on the pitch and stands out with her bright red hair! A member of The Football Sack’s Mighty Ducks, everyone in the office was excited to see Beattie’s name in the Australian squad.

Age: 16
Position: #7
What Dave says: Beattie is a well-balanced and technically gifted player who is capable of playing out wide or in behind the striker. She is a clever player and is one of the hardest workers I have ever come across! Beattie has excelled in the Women’s Premier League this year and has been a constant threat for the NTC against all opponents.

Eleni Fakos
Joining the NTC from Women’s Premier League club Heidelberg United, Eleni has been in the representative set-up for a number of years and has caught the eye of talent scouts at national championships.

Age: 15
Position: #9/11
What Dave says: Eleni is a year younger than many of the squad being a ‘98 born player but she has the tenacity and explosivity to cause any defence problems. Eleni is brave and determined with an eye for goal. If she can develop a little more selfishness in and around the box I think she can become a real goal threat for the National Team and Victorian teams of all levels.

Maddy Stockdale

Maddy will be familiar to regular readers of The Football Sack as the daughter of journalist Craig Stockdale. I first saw Maddy play a match at U14 level for the South East Cougars; she played a full half in defence before switching to attack in the second half and she hasn’t looked back since. Having capped off her first full year in the FFV representative set-up with selection as a W-League train-on, Maddy looks to have a bright future.

Age: 15
Position: #3/4
What Dave says: Maddy is a physically imposing and impressive young defender. Whilst she is still learning the defenders trade she has an enthusiasm and determination to compete against older and more experienced players. Comfortable on the ball and aggressive in the tackle, Maddy has the potential to become a very fine defender.

Jess Pitts
It was only last year where I was being interviewed about Jess’ footballing future and I’m glad to see she has continued her rise to the top. Jess is a natural talent, a hard worker, is one of my favourite players to deal with and gets bonus points for being from the country!

Age: 16
Position: #10
What Dave says: Jess has forced her way into national team reckoning late in the season, in part due to some unfortunately timed injuries earlier in the year. A concussion and an ankle injury threatened to keep Jess out of the last national team camps but when she got her chance she took it with both hands. A composed and intelligent midfield player, Jess has the potential to play in a number of positions through the spine of the team with her vision and technical ability real strengths.

The Football Sack would like to congratulate Beattie, Eleni, Maddy and Jess for making the national squad and would like to wish all the players the best of luck when they take on New Zealand for a second time on Wednesday.

The U17 Matildas play New Zealand U17 on Wednesday 14 August (1:30pm) at the AIS Athletics Stadium in Bruce, ACT.

Full Squad
Angela Beard – QLD
Alexandra Chidiac – SA
Isobel Dalton – QLD
Eleni Fakos – VIC
Sunny Franco – QLD
Tia Gavin – NSW
Beatrice Goad – VIC
Brooke Goodrich – QLD
Victoria Guzman – NSW
Emily Henderson – WA
Jada Mathyssen-Whyman – NSW Country
Afrikah McGladrigan – QLD
Teagan Micah – QLD
Sophie Nenadovic – NNSW
Ayesha Norrie (Kirby) – QLD
Chloe O’Brien – NSW
Jessica Pitts – VIC
Rhianna Pollicina – NSW
Matilda-Lee Potter – NSW Country
Siena Senatore – ACT
Madeline Stockdale – VIC
Jessica Urquhart – NSW
Jessica Waterhouse – SA

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Christian Layland
The Media Manager at Western Sydney Wanderers for four seasons and the Melbourne Victory W-League team for two, Christian is co-founder and Chief of Staff of The Football Sack and currently coaches at Wanderers Academy.