Logarzo raring to go

Back in the national team for the first time since 2013, Chloe Logarzo is ready to hit the upcoming Olympic qualifiers flat out in what is looming as a survival of the fittest.

The 21 year old finds herself in the Westfield Matildas’ 20-player squad for the crucial Olympic qualifiers after a breakthrough Westfield W-League season where she shone in midfield for the Newcastle Jets to attract the attention of Head Coach Alen Stajcic.

Having played the previous W-League season with Sydney FC, Logarzo craved more game time and knew that opportunity would come with Coach Craig Deans at the Jets.

Now after leaving nothing to chance in the couple of Westfield Matildas training camps she attended prior to the announcement of the squad, Logarzo finds herself in Japan as part of the national team for the first time since 2013.

Seems the move north to Newcastle certainly paid off.

“I think I just wanted more game time and I changed positions going from the left wing to left midfield,” Logarzo said of her transition to the Hunter.

“I just wanted to get some more fluency into my game and get some more minutes under my belt.”

“It was my goal to try and get back into the national setup but it was certainly a surprise to come back in now after just one W-League season with Newcastle. I was just putting my heart into the games and I think that’s what Staj liked so I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

If Stajcic was hoping the enthusiasm of Logarzo and the likes of Emily Gielnik, Caitlin Cooper and Aivi Luik would resonate amongst the squad, indications are that it has. The aforementioned quartet was not part of last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup squad but now that they’re in the mix, expect them to take the opportunity with both hands. Logarzo is certainly determined to make the most of her chance.

“It’s my first big tournament so I’m excited. A few things have changed personnel wise sine I was last in the national team but I think we’ve got a great bunch of girls and we can do really well,” Logarzo said.

“I want to try and get a few minutes on the park and just bring a bit of youth into the team. If I get on I just want to run until my legs fall off.”

With all teams in the tournament faced with the prospect of playing five matches in ten days, there is a fair chance Logarzo and the Matildas will be left running on empty come full time of their final encounter on 10 March.

But Logarzo says the squad is ready and feeling in top shape following a thorough fitness regime Stajcic put in place in the month leading up to the tournament, which has included the dreaded ‘protocol’, a term the players are glad they have heard the end of now they’re in Japan.

“Staj has smashed us with fitness in camp and I think fitness is going to be a massive part of the tournament considering we have five games in ten days,” Logarzo said.

“We’ve come off a camp where we’ve played six or seven training games in a short period.”

“I actually don’t know why it is called protocol but Staj has used it for however long I’ve been in the W-League and it’s torture.

“They’re like shuttle runs and we’ve done them after training games and whenever the word protocol gets called out all of the girls kind of cringe but we’ve done it so many times it has given us confidence to run out the full 90 minutes when it matters.”

Logarzo also does not think the contrast of coming from the heat of summer in Australia to the chilly temperatures in Japan will adversely affect the Matildas. On the contrary, she believes it could prove to have the opposite impact.

“It’s colder here (in Japan) but I think we’re going to be able to run out the games more because we’re going from the heat to the cold so I think that could work to our advantage,” Logarzo said.

“All of the girls are amped for the comp to start so I think we’re ready.”

The Westfield Matildas Olympic Games Qualifiers will be showcased LIVE on 7mate starting on February 29.