The Westfield Matildas will play two international matches against recently crowned World Champions USA in the lead up to next February’s Olympic qualifiers.
The two matches against the USA, to be held on 17 September and 20 September in Detroit and Birmingham respectively, will be the Westfield Matildas’ first hit outs since bowing out in the quarter finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015.
After a gallant 3-1 loss to the USA in their opening group stage match of the World Cup, Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic is pleased to have the opportunity to take on the benchmark in women’s football, the Americans stamping their authority as the world’s best following their 5-2 win over Japan in the World Cup Final earlier this month.
“We can’t ask for better preparation playing the World Champions and the country who is the number one ranked team by a long way now,” Stajcic said.
“We had a great game against them in the World Cup and we’ll be looking to renew that battle and see how much we have improved in that two or three month period since the World Cup.
“We’ll just be looking to build on our momentum. We played pretty well in Canada and showed a good level of football, so our goal is to keep improving on our consistency, on our maturity on the ball, there are still a lot of areas we need to improve on.
For Stajcic, the matches against the USA will provide an invaluable first building block for the Westfield Matildas as they attempt to make progress through a difficult qualification for next year’s Olympic Games.
“We showed we can be a competitor on the world stage and this will be another good test for us to see how much we have matured and also to fine tune our play before we get to the difficult Olympic qualifiers in February,” Stajcic said.
“This is the first building block on our way to the Olympic Games qualifiers.”
As a significant boost in preparation for these matches, a host of the Westfield Matildas are currently plying their trade in the USA’s National Women’s Soccer League, something Stajcic knows can only be highly beneficial for the team’s development.
“The more players we have playing overseas the more experience they’re getting and the better it is for our national team,” Stajcic said.
“Michelle Heyman scored a goal on her debut for Western New York flash, while Sam Kerr struck the winner for Sky Blue FC last week, so they’re showing it wasn’t a fluke that we performed well on the world stage and I know that they’re going to bring this experience back into the national team.”
“For the players currently playing in America we’ll meet them over there and the domestic players will probably come in for one camp prior to the matches.”
USA v Westfield Matildas
Thursday 17 September 2015
Ford Field (Detroit, Michigan)
Kick-Off 7:30pm local time
USA v Westfield Matildas
Sunday 20 September 2015
Legion Field (Birmingham, Alabama)
Kick-Off 2pm local time