Two local girls make Australian U20 team

kahli shay

Local girls Kahli Johnson and Shay Holman have been selected in a 23-player squad to travel to the Kyrgyz Republic next month for the first round of the 2024 AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers.


Johnson (CC Strikers and Dee Why junior) is currently playing for Western United before returning to Manly United at the conclusion of the A-League women’s competition while and Holman (Seaforth) is playing with Sydney FC.


Both girls have progressed through the MWFA grassroots competition, onto Manly United and all the way to our National Team.


Australia’s U-20 Women’s National Team will face Guam and hosts Kyrgyz Republic in Group C of the Round 1 Qualifiers with the group winner progressing to Round 2 in June 2023.


Head Coach Leah Blayney said that the selected players are eager to commence the qualifiers positively in Bishkek.


“I can’t fault the way all the players have undertaken the preparations for the Round 1 Qualifiers over the past six months,” Blayney said.  “Their diligence and enthusiasm made the selection of the final 23 an incredibly challenging one with so much talent available across Australia.”


“Our final 23 reflects the needs of the squad to ensure balance across all positions with the players named providing unique attributes to the collective.  We have been diligent with our scouting network with the mixture of Liberty A-League Women’s, National Premier Leagues, metro and regional, and international players sending the message that we will consider any footballer we believe can be valuable to our ultimate goal.


“Qualification for the 2024 AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup will be a long process and, while those who were not selected this time around would be disappointed, it is important to recognise their contribution in elevating the training standard and highlighting that there will be several future openings.”


For a majority of the roster, it will be their first taste of international competition football at the U-20 age group with only seven players returning from the CommBank Young Matildas 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup™ campaign.


The squad sees strong representation from the Liberty A-League Women’s competition with 19 of the 23 currently on the rosters of ten different clubs. Several have starred in the competition with strong performances across the 15 rounds of the 2022/23 season.  Seven different Member Federations are also featured including a number of players from regional Australia.


“This will be an important trip for us to not only ensure we progress to the next stage but also ingrain good foundations that will benefit us across the next two years.”


“Regardless of the opponent, we take every match seriously as they are not only occasions where we can develop but also where we can establish strong habits for future tests.  There is an unknown quality to the opposition which by necessity means we need to ensure full focus on our own performances, continued building of cohesion and executing our playing style.”


Players and staff will depart Australia on 3 March 2023 with the CommBank Young Matildas’ opening match kicking off at 8.00pm on 6 March 2023 (local time).



Guam v Australia
Date: 7 March 2023
Time: 1:00am AEDT

Venue: Dolen Omurzakov Stadium, Bishkek

Australia v Kyrgyz Republic
Date: 11 March 2023
Time: 1:00am AEDT

Venue: Dolen Omurzakov Stadium, Bishkek


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