Defender Clare Polkinghorne and forward Lisa De Vanna will lead the Westfield Matildas at the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015™ Canada after being named dual captains for the tournament.
Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop made the announcement earlier today during a farewell function for the squad hosted by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Her Excellency Lady Cosgrove at Admiralty House.
Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic said Polkinghorne and De Vanna, who have a combined 175 international ‘A’ appearances and 38 goals between them, were fitting choices to share the role and that they exemplified the values the squad prides itself on.
“Over the last four or five months we’ve done an extreme amount of work in terms of leadership and growing the team off the field, and these two have exemplified that more than others,” said Stajcic.
“The amount that they’ve grown and the leadership they have shown on and off the field has been tremendous and they have just risen above the pack in terms of what they offer the team.
“I’m really proud of Clare (Polkinghorne) who has been in the role before, but for Lisa De Vanna, the amount that she’s grown has been unbelievable.
“To see a player of her calibre grow so much and be able to give so much back to the team in such a short space of time is a tremendous effort and I’m really proud of the person she is and the leader she is going to be at the World Cup.”
For De Vanna, heading to her third FIFA Women’s World Cup at the age of 30, being given the responsibility of co-captaincy is an honour she admitted brought her to tears, a clear symbol of what the role of leading her country means to her.
“I was a little bit shocked when I was told I would be a captain, I’ve been in this team for a very long time and a lot of the girls know how passionate I am and how much I go out and play with my heart on my sleeve for this team, so when Staj told me I was going to be a co-captain I cried,” said De Vanna.
“I think I’ll be the type of captain that people can rely on when things are down, and when things are great that I’m going to keep pushing them. I like to lead by example through my actions on the field so hopefully I can do that for the team at the World Cup.”
“I love what I do and I love playing for my country, and to go out there and lead my country with the talented team we’ve got, I honestly believe this team can go all the way and leave a legacy.”
Polkinghorne captained the Westfield Matildas at last year’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup and the 26 year old is relishing the opportunity to lead her country in Canada.
“Obviously it’s a massive honour leading the girls into a World Cup. I’ve been lucky enough to share the co captaincy role the last couple of years but this is extra special being on the World Cup stage,” said Polkinghorne.
“I think heading into this World Cup we have set high standards for ourselves as a team, and with the talented group we’ve got there is a lot of potential to go deep in the tournament.”
Polkinghorne also expressed her pride in having De Vanna alongside her in the captaincy and the qualities she brings to the role.
“I’m extremely proud of Lisa. She’s got that winning attitude, she lives and breathes football and would do anything for her team mates, and to hear her speak with such passion, I think the girls can really take a lot from it,” said Polkinghorne.
Gallop also announced reigning Julie Dolan Medallist Emily van Egmond and Kyah Simon as vice captains.
The Westfield Matildas will play a farewell match against Vietnam on Thursday 21 May 2015 at Jubilee Oval in Kogarah (kick-off at 6.30pm AEST) before the squad departs for Canada on Saturday 23 May 2015.
Westfield Matildas FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 Canada – Group Matches
USA v Westfield Matildas
Monday 8 June 2015
Winnipeg Stadium, Winnipeg (Kick-Off 6.30pm local, 9.30am AEST Tuesday 9 June)
Westfield Matildas v Nigeria
Friday 12 June 2015
Winnipeg Stadium, Winnipeg (Kick-Off 4.00pm local, 7.00am AEST Saturday 13 June)
Westfield Matildas v Sweden
Tuesday 16 June 2015
Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton (Kick-Off 6.00pm local, 10.00am AEST Wednesday 17 June)
All matches from the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015™ will be live on SBS ONE, SBS HD and online, with the only exceptions being the concurrent group stage matches which will be streamed live online at www.sbs.com.au/theworldgame.