Friday, 10 July 2009

Canberra United beginning to stir

Ray Junna United's new Coach is seemingly looking to engage more local talent for Canberra United this season, andLydia Williams set to come home from the USA for United's new season.

For Canberra Times Journo Merryn Sherwood's recent articles in the Canberra Times read on.

By Merryn Sherwood

Last season Cian Maciejewski was the only local premier league player to take part in Canberra's inaugural W-League side.

This year, even Maciejewski thinks that will change.

New United coach Ray Junna started holding trials last week and invited players from all ACT clubs to participate along with ACT Academy of Sport squad members and a selection of NSW players.

''I think it's fantastic that Ray has gone to the local league first and given them that chance,'' Maciejewski said.

''Last year, you could have gone along to training but it's kind of hard to just pick yourself up and go out there by yourself, but this year Ray has really given them the confidence to come in and be part of it.

''It's been great to see so many more girls involved.'' This year's story is different from Maciejewski's.

Maciejewski played in the old women's national league for the Canberra Eclipse.
However, a knee injury meant she spent time out of the game before coming back to play for Belwest in the local women's league where she has played for the past three seasons. This year, it's a host of talented teenagers making their way on to the national stage.

Almost every premier league team has players in the ACT schoolgirls under-15s and under-17s nationals teams who are making a difference. At Belwest, Georgia Yeoman-Dale and Hope Wilkins have impressed, Weston Creek has Aleisha Tupper, Krista Hagan and Elizabeth Pearson and Belconnen United has Erica Weatherly.

Woden Valley has the biggest contingent, with players like Sally Rojahn, Catherine Brown, Grace Field and Ashleigh Palombi all scoring bags of goals in Woden's so far undefeated season.

The biggest issue for Junna could be age restrictions.

This year each W-League team is allowed to have just three under-17 players.
Almost all of the women's premier league players coming through are under that age.
But Maciejewski doesn't think that's a bad thing.

''The W-League can be pretty stressful, maybe some of them their age, they might be a bit too young,'' Maciejewski said.

''But they certainly have potential. There are some great players there.'' Junna is still working out how to balance his squad, which will start to take shape when the W-League registration opens, but is keen for more Canberra-based players.

Last season, the whole 20-player squad didn't train together once, even in the week leading up to the grand final against the Brisbane Roar.
For season two, Junna wants that to change.

Canberra United can officially sign players when the W-League registration period opens on July17.

Williams netting plenty of experience
By Merryn Sherwood

As an understudy to one of the world's best goalkeepers at the Chicago Red Stars, Lydia Williams believes she has learned a great deal and can't wait to bring her form back to Canberra United. After finishing the inaugural season at Canberra United with the second-best defensive record in the league last year, Williams trialled with Chicago in the new American women's professional league club in March and secured a contract.

For the past three months she has trained almost daily, earning enough to live on and has been mentored by one of the world's leading goalkeepers and practised against some of the sharpest female strikers in the world. ''I think Carli Lloyd is the hardest shot to stop in training,'' Williams said. ''So I know if I start stopping her shots regularly then I'll be up there.

''But it's definitely given me a lot of incentive, I think its the most physical competition there is, so being a part of that will improve me a lot.''Williams is yet to take to the field for the team but is happy to be gaining skills to bring back to Canberra when the W-League starts in October.

While no players can be officially signed until July 17, Williams was keen to return to her home team, Canberra United, for its second season.

''I probably won't be playing this season in the [US] league unless Carre [Jonsson] gets injured, but I don't mind at all because she's probably one of the best keepers in the world at the moment,'' Williams told The Canberra Times from Chicago.

''I'm learning so much from her and its only making me better.''''... On crosses I think I'm a lot cleaner now and my foot work has improved, there is a whole lot of things have been cleaned up a little bit.''Williams said the experience had given her incentive to improve.

As the No1 Matildas goalkeeper, she was one of the most experienced players in the W-League. But in America, Williams was was an under-study to Swedish international Caroline Jonsson and is one of the youngest players in the league.

The women's pro soccer league season ends in August.
The official W-League draw is expected to be released in the next fortnight.


Anonymous said...

Any news on players?

Will Munoz and Chapman be ready in time?

Do you think we will get the queenslanders back?

I hope Tokich plays for us this time.

What about Slatyer, Davies and Crawford?

Anonymous said...

munoz won't be playing - she is injured and i think chapman is staying in qld. Please do not let those two qld girls back. THey were hopeless and did nothing for Canberra united. Don't think tokich is playing any more. No great loss, she didn't score at all for adelaide. Hope Slatyer, Davies and Crawford don't come back. They didn't add anything some of our better local girls can't do. THey were all past it.

Anonymous said...

Past it! Slatyer, Crawford, McDonnel and Mowbray were all in the recent Matildas camp.

Essentially you have named the core of the startng team for United in the Grand Final last year. I am not sure we can lose them all and still be competitive.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that Tokich did nothing for Adelaide, I assume thats why she was left out of the Canberra Squad. Easily the best field player last season was from a local team - Cian from Belwest.
We don't need to be bringing players from interstate (or Dubbo for that matter). A combination of the ACTAS players and the local comp would field a very competitive team. ONE THING - desperately need a good striker.