W-League champion Canberra United will play a tournament with some of the world's best clubs next month. Photo: Gary Schafer
Canberra United has conquered the W-League, next stop the world, with the reigning Australian club champions set for a play-off against the best club teams from Japan and Europe in November.
The inaugural tournament began as a women's Asian Champions League, but the concept expanded when a top German club and the reigning European champions, Lyon, wanted in on the action.
Canberra United's chief executive, Heather Reid, has confirmed the challenge will take place on November 20-26.
The Japan Football Association is funding United's trip. Only the absence of the top US club stops it being a true global club champions' challenge. ''There are no national women's leagues in the South American countries or African countries, and no national league in Canada either,'' Reid said.
''It would be great if there was a US team, but it's not going to happen this time.''
The tournament's timing will clash with United's W-League fixture with Perth Glory, which Reid said had been rescheduled from November 24 to December 5 to accommodate the tour to Japan.
In preparation for the W-League, the entire United team, including Reid, climbed Mount Tennent on Saturday. The group made the trip up the 1375-metre-high peak as a team-building exercise, one which captain, Ellie Brush, expected to produce a few sore players at last night's training session.
''There will definitely be some sore bodies. I'm quite sore even a couple of days later,'' Brush said yesterday.
''[As] a lot of Canberrans will know, there's a lot of steep parts to Mt Tennent, it keeps going up.
''We didn't realise it was going to be a full 14-kilometre climb, so a few were underprepared, but we all made it in the end.''
She said the mountain represented the challenges in store for United: to go back-to-back with W-League wins and with bonding sessions ''to light that good team morale that we had last year''.
''[We're] hoping to continue that, and the climb on Saturday lent itself to a lot of challenges, nearing what we would expect during the season.''