Canberra product Emma Ilijoski will strengthen her bid to become part of the Matildas' next generation in a national camp rich with W-League stars.
The 17-year-old defender is one of the few players without W-League experience selected for the FFA's first women's Talent Identification Camp, which is taking place in Canberra this week.
She joins Canberra United trio Grace Maher, Laura Hughes and Sally James in the 23-women squad that was named by Matildas assistant coach Melissa Andreatta on Saturday.
It's Ilijoski's first national camp outside the Junior Matildas, having previously toured four times with the Australian youth team.
The Talent Identification squad has 19 players, like Ilijoski, who have represented Australia at junior level, as well as a host of established W-League players.
The Canberra, who has a training agreement with United, sees it as an opportunity to challenge herself against those elite players, hopeful that her W-League call-up is on the horizon.
"I really hope so. I'm going to keep working hard and hopefully I get that opportunity," Ilijoski said.
"Ever since being a little girl, it's always something I've wanted to do. I want to keep working hard for that and hopefully it'll come some time soon.
"Any opportunity I get to improve I'm going to take it and hopefully I get that opportunity with the W-League. I'm still young at the end of the day, so I want to keep working hard. Everyone is on their own journey."
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The camp is designed to help develop the next batch of Matildas and strengthen the national talent pool of players, with four major tournaments taking place within the next four years - in two Olympic Games, the 2022 Asian Cup and 2023 World Cup.
It was meant to be held in Adelaide but the recent spike of coronavirus cases resulted in a late change of location to Canberra.
Ilijoski was excited to enter the national camp on Sunday, with the teenage defender looking to learn from the Matildas coaches and experienced players like Ellie Brush.
"I want to absorb and learn as much as I can from all the different coaches and hopefully make some friends," Ilijoski said.
"I'm grateful to be in that environment again, to work hard, grow, and just take every opportunity. I'm so honoured to be part of it, because not everyone has that opportunity. I'm going to take it with both hands that's for sure."
Ilijoski spent the winter playing for North-West Sydney Koalas in the NSW Premier League, a competition with an abundance of W-League players.
She featured in the club's 11 matches and alongside the likes of Sydney FC's Amy Sayer, Natalie Tobin and Newcastle's Ash Brodigan.
"I think it prepared me a lot for this level, especially because a lot of girls in the camp play in that competition," Ilijoski said.
"Every team had some W-League player or someone who'd played at a higher level before. It was really good to come against them and challenge myself, it was good to get that versatility. I honestly felt like I developed with each game.
"I credit a lot of my development to that competition, just the week-in, week-out tough challenge. I think I grew a lot as a player and stepped outside my comfort zone.
"I had to make that commitment, especially travelling to Sydney but I'm so grateful for the Koalas and everything. It was such an amazing experience and I hope to build from that each season, especially being one of the younger ones."
Talent identification camp squad: Ellie Brush, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Cassidy Davis, Chelsie Dawber, Charlotte Grant, Ally Green, Annalee Grove, Bryleeh Henry, Angelique Hristodoulou, Laura Hughes, Emma Ilijoski, Sally James, Grace Maher, Courtney Nevin, Hollie Palmer, Jamilla Rankin, Taylor Ray, Natasha Rigby, Cushla Rue, Charlie Rule, Remy Siemsen, Miranda Templeman, Clare Wheeler.