Canberra United divides for stints afar
Canberra United Captain Ellie Brush shares a lighthearted moment with the Matildas squad. Photo: Jay Cronan
From Sweden to Finland and the Czech Republic - Canberra United players are going to all parts of Europe as they tune up for another tilt at the W-League title.
After becoming the first premiers to miss the finals the following season, five of United's squad will embark on overseas stints to ensure they're ready to hit the ground running for the next campaign.
Midfielders Jennifer Bisset and Grace Gill are off to Finland and the Czech Republic respectively, defender Nicole Sykes and goalkeeper Lydia Williams will have stints at different clubs in Sweden, while captain Ellie Brush leaves on Monday for her first international duty in Norway.
Brush admitted she could miss up to the first two games of the W-League season, but would be allowed to return early if her Norwegian club was out of the running for the title.
''I may miss one or two Canberra United games, which is a bit of a shame, but there is an option to come back in October if we're not in contention for the top three or out of the cup,'' she said.
''It'd be a tougher decision to make to play overseas if I was going to miss more games than that.
''It's only going to be a positive for Canberra and the league for us to be playing at the highest level throughout the year.
''Getting different coaching and consistently difficult games throughout the year will improve our football.''
Brush has spent the past four days in camp with the Australian Matildas squad at the AIS.
The 24-year-old central defender has been capped twice by the Matildas and is hopeful of catching the eye of new coach Hesterine de Reus.
The Dutch mentor had her first look at a 31-strong Matildas squad, which included Brush and United teammates Michelle Heyman and MacKenzie Arnold.
Williams would have been in the squad, but is recovering from a knee reconstruction.
Brush cited similarities between de Reus and United's Czech Republic coach Jitka Klimkova and believed they suited her style of play.
Her stint in Europe has also been given the tick of approval from the Matildas boss.
''The new [Matildas] coach has been talking about putting yourself in the right training environment and getting a lot of high-quality games, so I think it'll challenge my football and ultimately challenge my game,'' Brush said.
''That's the ultimate goal, to represent my country. The big thing is to win gold medals at World Cups and Olympic games.
''I certainly hope to be a part of that and pushing the girls around me to make the team and ultimately be top of the world.''