Young Matildas coach Leah Blayney will join the reputable company when he leaves

Young Matildas coach Leah Blaney will enter the rare air of Australian football as she leads her team to the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, becoming the fifth and only woman to become the only woman to play and coach for Australia at the World Cup.

Blaney, who played in the 2004 Under-19 Women’s World Cup and the 2006 Under-20 Women’s World Cup, joined the rather exclusive club with his former coaches Alastair Edwards, Ante Milick, Paul O’Connor and Ang Postecoglo.

The 35-year-old, who grew up in Katumba and began his football career as a junior at Wentworth Falls United, played four Australian matches in Thailand in 2004 and two in Russia in 2006.

She was capped 16 times by Matildas, dropped short of being selected for the 2007 Women’s World Cup in China.

Blaney’s mentor Edwards, who coached him in Russia in 2006, played for Young Socrates himself and attended the 1987 Youth Cup in Chile.

Milisic played in the 1993 Youth World Cup in Australia and was coached by Matildas in the 2019 World Cup in France.

Okon was a player at the 1991 Youth World Cup in Portugal and coached the young Sucreos in Turkey in 2013.

Before coaching the Postecoglu Joyce, he played in the 1985 Youth World Cup in the Soviet Union (2001 in Trinidad and Tobago, 2003 in Finland and 2005 in Peru), and Young Sakarus (2001 in Argentina, 2003 in the UAE and 2005) in the Netherlands. And Socceroos (2014 in Brazil) at several World Cups.

In Costa Rica, Blaini has a tough job ahead of him, as his side will face favorites Spain, old rivals Brazil and the hosts in the group stage.

Blaine’s dedication to the future of Australian football has been underlined by the fact that he has turned down several opportunities to coach A-League women. Several clubs have made a big game for his service in the upcoming 2022-23 season, but his main focus now is preparing his team for Costa Rica.

Several of his protgs will also be seen at the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Like Courtney Nevin, Mary Fowler, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Remy Simsen and Courtney Vine could be there where Charlotte Grant, Jess Nash, Jamila Rankin, Carly Rostbucken, Brailleh Henry, Winnie Hitley and Charlie Rule will push for the election. .

Blaney is also the head coach of the highly respected Future Matildas program, which continues to go from strength to strength. The 30 players who received the scholarship for 2022 benefit from elite coaching and even better facilities as they prepare for the future in professional football.

Under-20 Women’s World Cup 10-28 August, Australia will play their first match against the hosts at AEST on Thursday 11 August at 12 noon.

Blaine has remained silent about his post-Costa Rica plans, but a number of clubs in Australia and abroad will undoubtedly keep a close eye on his movements. For now, though, he will focus on making history.

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