10 January 2020

Canberra United's Roestbakken takes her first step to Tokyo

| Dominic Giannini
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Karly Roestbakken

Karly Roestbakken of United controls the ball during the round 1 W-League match between Canberra United and Perth Glory at McKellar Park. Photo: Jason McCawley, Getty Images.

Canberra United star Karly Roestbakken has been announced in the Matildas’ 20-player squad for Australia’s forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification games in China.

The young defender, who had her Matildas debut at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, will prepare to line up for her fourth cap in the national team as the girls assemble in Sydney at the end of the month for a training camp before taking off to China.

“This is a goal that I have been trying to work towards since I started playing football,” the 18-year-old told Region Media.

“My dream was always to play for my country and represent my nation so to be able to do that and be selected for something so big, it means a lot to me and it means a lot to my family as well.”

Roestbakken says having three games under her belt already is a big help, but that doesn’t mean there are no nerves.

“At the World Cup I got a taste of what the highest level of women’s football is, so it was pretty cool,” she said.

“Obviously I have a little bit of nerves, we have to go there and we have to do a job and we have to qualify. So it is a little bit nerve-racking but I am mostly excited about it.

“Going in now I know a little bit of what to expect. It is still going to be hard as well, but I am just looking forward to it.

“It will be tough. This is to qualify for the Olympics so we will not be up against easy teams. Any team that we play is going to give us a challenge. It will be tough but we are ready to get out there and do it.”

The Matildas will need to finish in the top two spots in their Asian qualifying group to advance to the final round of matches to make it to the Tokyo Olympics in July.

The Aussies will take on Chinese Taipei, Thailand and China for the opportunity to step up to battle the Republic of Korea, Vietnam or Myanmar in a set of home and away matches in early March 2020.

Matildas head coach Ante Milicic says the squad has the depth, experience and talent to go all the way.

“We have a great amount of experience in our squad, as well as some emerging talents, and I expect us to perform strongly in Wuhan, [China],” Milicic said.

“Together with my staff, I have been keeping a very close eye on the W-League, and it is pleasing that many of our players have produced strong performances in the competition over the past two months.

Karly Roestbakken in the Matilda kit

Karly Roestbakken says she is a little nervous, but is more excited to be there. Photo: Simon Hofmann, Getty Images.

“The great amount of consistency within our squad from November’s series against Chile in Sydney and Adelaide means that we will be able to continue to make progress with many areas of our play from the moment we convene in Sydney as we build up to these crucial qualifiers.”

It is this consistency from more experienced characters in the squad that Roestbakken is hoping to tap into to help her grow as a player.

“At the World Cup I learned a lot off Alanna Kennedy,” Roestbakken told Region Media.

“I asked her a lot of questions and she was really open to helping me and there were a few grey areas that I needed to pick up on, but I just learned so much from her.

“I think anything that I learn in there I will be able to take back to any club that I go to, improving my game and helping the team as much as I can.”

The Matildas’ training camp in Sydney will be held between 20 and 27 January, with the team to depart for China on January 28.

The full Matildas’ 20-Player Squad | Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020 Asian Qualifiers | Wuhan, China

Name Club, Country ‘A’ International Caps (Goals)
Mackenzie ARNOLD (Gk) Brisbane Roar FC, Australia 23 (0)
Ellie CARPENTER Melbourne City FC, Australia 38 (1)
Steph CATLEY Melbourne City FC, Australia 78 (2)
Caitlin FOORD Sydney FC, Australia 78 (17)
Emily GIELNIK Bayern Munich, Germany 34 (8)
Katrina GORRY Brisbane Roar FC, Australia 76 (14)
Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT Brisbane Roar FC, Australia 109 (2)
Alanna KENNEDY Sydney FC, Australia 83 (7)
Sam KERR (C) Chelsea FC, England 83 (38)
Chloe LOGARZO Sydney FC, Australia 44 (7)
Aivi LUIK Melbourne City FC, Australia 24 (0)
Jenna MCCORMICK Melbourne Victory, Australia 2 (0)
Teagan MICAH (Gk) Melbourne Victory, Australia 0 (0)
Clare POLKINGHORNE Brisbane Roar FC, Australia 121 (9)
Hayley RASO Brisbane Roar FC, Australia 41 (3)
Karly ROESTBAKKEN Canberra United, Australia 3 (0)
Kyah SIMON Melbourne City FC, Australia 87 (24)
Emily VAN EGMOND Melbourne City FC, Australia 92 (18)
Lydia WILLIAMS (Gk) Melbourne City FC, Australia 84 (0)
Tameka YALLOP Brisbane Roar FC, Australia 83 (10)

Upcoming Matches – Matildas

Matildas v Chinese Taipei
Date: Monday, 3 February 2020
Venue: Five Rings Sports Centre, Wuhan, China
Kick-off: 4:00 pm (local); 7:00 pm (AEDT).

Thailand v Matildas
Date: Thursday, 6 February 2020
Venue: Five Rings Sports Centre, Wuhan, China
Kick-off: 4:00 pm (local); 7:00 pm (AEDT).

Matildas v China PR
Date: Sunday, 9 February 2020
Venue: Five Rings Sports Centre, Wuhan, China
Kick-off: 7:30 pm (local); 10:30 pm (AEDT).

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