Westfields Sports nets four Aussie reps and coach

The Fairfield West school keeps delivering some of the country’s best football talent – on the pitch and in the technical area. Glenn Cullen reports.

Image: Westfields Sports High's Leah Blayney coaches a Young Matildas side that also features four students from the school.

Westfields Sports High continues to kick goals with four students in the mix to represent the Young Matildas at next month’s FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.

NSW public school students made up a significant part of that group with eight representatives named in the 23-player extended squad that left for a pre-tournament training camp in Mexico this week.

Just two players will be cut from that group to form the final squad that will take on host nation Costa Rica (10 August); Brazil (13 August) and Spain (16 August) in Group A of the World Cup.

It should perhaps come as no surprise that a school famed for introducing legendary Socceroo Harry Kewell to the world, again delivered when it came to the round ball game in Australia.

But beyond the four players who made the initial cut: Daniela Galic, Sheridan Gallagher, Jynaya Dos Santos and Jamilla Rankin – Westfields Sports High already has a confirmed representative in U20 head coach Leah Blayney.

A teacher at the school and former Matilda herself, Blayney played at the U-20 Women’s World Cup the last time Australia qualified back in 2006.

While the door was certainly open to older players outside of school age, Blayney said it was a deliberate strategy to favour youth with many of Australia’s teams unable to schedule quality matches during COVID.

Image: Jessika Nash from Hills Sports High made the squad.

“Due to strong competition for spots amongst the group, it will be a real challenge to select the final 21, but by intent, the squad will likely be the youngest at this year’s tournament,” she said.

“With significant interruptions caused by the pandemic impacting our pathway, by design, we want to fast-track the development of our best-emerging footballers on the international stage, and this tournament presents the perfect opportunity to meet that objective, as we have one eye on the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2027.”

Westfields Sports High principal Andrew Rogers said the school was immensely proud of having such strong representation in the squad.

"The work Leah has done as a coach at Westfields Sports over a number of years has directly contributed to their outstanding development as players and individuals," he said.

"The standards set by Leah, and all coaches in the Westfields Sports Football Program have proven to be an integral part of the success of their athletes.

"We look forward to following their progress at the upcoming World Cup.”

Hills Sports High also did well with Abbey Lemon and Jessika Nash also named in the extended travelling squad.

They are joined by Kirsty Fenton (Hunter Sports High) and Kahli Johnson (Mackellar Girls High).

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