Vicki Linton says a push to bridge the gap between the Matildas and the next generation can help Canberra United duo Laura Hughes and Grace Maher launch their international dreams.
Hughes and Maher were among four Canberra United prospects were part of an FFA talent identification camp in Canberra last month designed to develop the crop of Matildas.
Joining them were Sally James and Emma Ilijoski, who holds a training contract with Canberra as the club ramps up preparations for the W-League season.
"All of those players have been involved in youth national teams, so it's a good opportunity when we're bridging the gap," Linton said.
"I've worked with the Matildas before and other national teams, and there is often this gap post-under 20s while players are still developing.
"It's a great opportunity for Grace and Hughesy who have progressed on a little bit, to then come back into that environment, for the national coaches to see them, and then get exposure.
"It's great to have Laura back. As soon as I got the job, she was one of the first people I spoke to when she was over in Iceland.
"It was really great to be able to secure her for this season and I'm enjoying working with her so far. I'm looking forward to continuing to try to bring the best out in her, and use her assets."
A stint under the eyes of national team staff combined with a season playing an an import player in Iceland has 19-year-old rising star Hughes primed to take her game to another level this season.
Canberra's road back to the W-League finals opens with a road trip to face the Perth Glory at Dorrien Gardens on December 29.
"I was able to learn how to handle pressure better. I have gotten more physical and stronger on the ball, and more experienced with my movement and communication on the field," Hughes said.
"Confidence is a big one for me, going over there was very daunting for me, but I got through it and had a successful season. It definitely has given me a lot of confidence coming back here."