Canberra United's Hayley Raso, right, with teammate Jennifer Bisset. Photo: Gary Schafer
Queenslander Hayley Raso's bold move to Canberra is continuing to pay dividends after the 17-year-old was named in the Matildas squad yesterday.
After missing selection in the Queensland Academy of Sport last year, Raso moved to the capital and quickly established herself as an integral member of Canberra United's 2011/12 W-League premiership team.
Now she's one of 23 players named in the Matildas squad to tackle the New Zealand Football Ferns in Wollongong next week.
''I was over the moon - I went to my first [national] training camp in Canberra a few weeks ago, and that was exciting enough,'' the Canberra United forward said. ''Getting named in the squad against New Zealand was just amazing. I couldn't believe it.''
Raso is one of the youngest members of the squad, which also features Canberra United's 18-year-old Georgia Yeoman-Dale.
Coach Tom Sermanni is keen to rebuild the team after an aging Matildas line-up failed to qualify for the London Olympic Games.
United's Ellyse Perry, Caitlin Cooper and captain Ellie Brush were also named in the squad. Brush is excited to have several Canberra teammates by her side as she looks to add to her sole Matildas appearance.
''It's a great honour for them to be named, [it] reflects the good season they had with Canberra and more than anything will give them a whole wealth of experience that they'll be able to take on for Canberra United,'' Brush said.
The 23-year-old is looking forward to combining with regular defensive partner Cooper at international level.
''We've obviously got a pretty good pairing there that's been successful for Canberra, and a very good understanding of each other's game,'' Brush said.
The squad will go into camp in Wollongong on Wednesday before the match against New Zealand at WIN Stadium on Sunday, June 24.
Goalkeepers: Melissa Barbieri, Brianna Davey. Defenders: Ellyse Perry, Thea Slatyer, Laura Alleway, Ellie Brush, Caitlin Cooper, Danielle Brogan, Emma Checker, Stephanie Catley. Midfielders: Caitlin Foord, Teigen Allen, Teresa Polias, Renee Rollason, Clare Polkinghorne, Alanna Kennedy, Nicola Bolger. Forwards: Sarah Walsh, Kate Gill, Ashley Brown, Catherine Cannuli, Georgia Yeoman-Dale, Hayley Raso.