The Semi-Finalists of the National Youth Championships 2023 Girls’ Tournament have been confirmed as the competition enters the business end.
Fifty games over the past three days have dazzled onlookers across WIN Stadium and JJ Kelly Park, Wollongong, featuring scintillating strikes, showstopping saves and plenty of silky skills.
Thursday’s schedule will showcase the Semi-Finals for both the Under 14 and Under 16 divisions with the finals to take place on Friday.
Semi-Final teams confirmed
The crowd at WIN Stadium tomorrow will be treated to some quality football as the Semi-Finals get underway.
NSW Metro, Northern NSW, Western Australia and Victoria have all qualified from the Under 14 Group A division with the two winning teams progressing to the Group A Final on Friday.
In the Under 14 Group B division, Capital Football, Queensland Silver, Invitational XI and NSW Country will compete against each other to determine the two Finalists of Group B.
While in the Under 16 division, NSW Metro and Victoria have progressed from Group A to face South Australia and Northern NSW from Group B to decide the Under 16 Finalists.
Future is bright for Australian Women’s Football
The vibrant energy of the Under 14 and Under 16 Girls’ has been clear to see this week as they showcase their talents and compete to keep their National Youth Championships dream alive.
The energy has been reflected on the pitch with some brilliant goals being scored and quality goalkeeping to match that would complement any highlights package. For Football Australia’s Technical Director of Women’s Football and Head Coach of the Women’s U17, Rae Dower, that’s exactly what she was hoping to see.
“There’s been some outstanding goals scored and there’s been some great goalkeeping on display in both age groups. There’s some really exciting times for our game ahead with so many talented players here,” Dower said.
“The skill level of the players has really increased over the past five to 10 years.
“Having that increased level of skill matched with good physical attributes means that we’re on the way to helping to develop the next generation of all-round footballers, players who can read the game well. We’re on the march to producing some talented footballers for the future.”
The talent on display from all Member Federations is evidence of the growing depth in the Australian Women’s Football Community, with the recent success of the CommBank Matildas at the World Cup serving as motivation for the aspiring young footballers.
“The girls are clearly already motivated and still riding the wave of success of the Matildas at the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” Dower said.
“Some of the games have been really exciting encounters and come down to the last second of the game where teams have either scored an equaliser or gone ahead and scored a winner.
“There’s a few players not present at the tournament this year off enjoying their pre-season and ready for Round One of the Liberty Women’s A-League starting this weekend, so the future is definitely bright and I can’t wait to follow their football journeys.”
The pressure cooker of playing in a National Final is sure to create some entertaining football on Friday, and Dower is looking forward to seeing how each team handles the occasion.
“The Finals will highlight different aspects of the players’ development and how they handle the big occasion. It brings out leadership qualities and we will see how players and teams cope under that perceived pressure.”
“There are many additional benefits from seeing the girls play in this format. Making a National semi-final or final and going on to become National Champions is a football and life experience that the players and staff will treasure for the rest of their lives.”
Preparation Key for Capital Football
Planning for this year’s edition of the National Youth Championships started months ago for Capital Football, and their performances so far are proving the work has paid off.
The Under 14 Capital Football side has booked a spot in the Semi-Finals following strong performances in the group stage. However, this comes as no surprise to coach, Zoran Glavinic.
“We’ve been preparing for about three months and so far, it’s been a really great week,” Glacinic said.
“We’ve had some really good results and we’ve played some really good football, which has been great for us. It’s been very pleasing to see some of the girls that we expected to perform well and then some of the other girls who have stepped up, it’s been fantastic.”
The tight-knit group comes from a small number of clubs, which is contributing to their positive and upbeat culture. Their successful outings in the tournament start the night before, with the well-prepared side leaving no stone unturned.
“The girls have really been connected this week and it’s been a fun week so far.”
“The girls have been challenged in some of the games and after playing two, three games a day, it’s continued back at home.
“Doing all the right things back in camp and making sure that you’re mentally and physically prepared. That’s what we’ve been focusing on as well.”
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