The Young Matilda is the real deal and her second campaign in the W-League is her chance to prove it.

Melbourne City defender Chelsea Blissett is one of the youngsters that coach Rado Vidosic will be banking on come the business end of the season.

The Young Matilda had an impressive debut season at City in 2018/19, but will be hoping to take her game to another level as her club looks to reclaim past glories.

Blissett, who is renowned for being her own harshest critic, was honest about what she wants from her second year in the country’s top domestic league.

“My main ambition is to keep getting more game time and keep learning and growing with the amazing players I am with,” she said.

“I want to improve my game and be more aware and more composed on the ball.”

Blissett is well and truly battle-hardened for the campaign ahead after a year in the tough Future Matilda’s program in Sydney.

The program is an intensive one with the young ladies expected to train five times per week, including some double sessions, before playing a match against boys in the Talent Sports Program.

Blissett was full of praise for the environment she found herself in.
“It was a great opportunity to train at a high level,” she said. “It was high intensity and I was able to work on my weaknesses which I discovered in my first year in the W-League. 
“I was able to continue in a professional environment after my first season at Melbourne City and keep the high standard that was expected of me.
"There was no jumping from one drastic to another. It also helped me to transition back into the W-League for this season.”
At the end of the program, Blissett and her teammates found themselves in the cauldron of World Cup qualifiers at the AFC Under 19s Women’s Championships in Thailand. The tournament doubled as qualifying for the 2020 Under 20s Women’s World Cup in Nigeria.   

The Young Matildas were comprehensively knocked out of the tournament after some heavy defeats including a 9-1 thrashing at the hands of South Korea, a 7-0 drubbing to Japan and a 5-1 defeat against North Korea.

Blissett admitted it was a disappointment the way the tournament went but was adamant there were more positives than negatives to come out of it. 

“We competed against some of the best countries in the world, not just Asia,” she said. “It was a good learning experience to see where we were at compared to girls our age internationally. 
“While we didn’t get the results we wanted, we are still young and it was a positive learning experience as much as anything.”
Blissett insisted the tournament would benefit the ladies who are facing some Olympic qualifiers in the new year as they set their sights for Tokyo 2020. 
“I think the tournament was helpful more than anything,” she said of the Thailand experience. “No one walked away with their confidence shattered. 
“We are more determined and want to work harder as we don’t want to experience that feeling again.”

The positive attitude in the 19-year-old is very refreshing and reflects the fine young lady that came from the regional town of Albury to the bright lights of Melbourne (to play with South Melbourne in the NPLW in 2017 and 2018) and then Sydney. 
She is the type of player a club like Melbourne City can build their culture around. 

City host a young Adelaide team on Saturday night in Shepparton where Blissett will come up against a Young Matilda team mate in Mary Fowler. The 16-year-old striker is one of the most exciting footballers in the country and Blissett is looking forward to the challenge.

“Yeah I am excited to play against Mary, I have trained with her all year, so it isn’t anything new to come up against her,” she said. “She is a very talented player and is one to watch in the W League.
“We have a world class defence, so it will be a good match-up for her and for us as well.”
With an average age of only 20.7, the Reds have many talented youngsters who want to make their mark in professional football. Blissett was well aware of the other threats, apart from Fowler, that Adelaide United presented:
“Charlotte Grant is an attacking and aggressive fullback. She brings extra attacking power when she makes her runs along the wings...Sarah Willacy is also a really good keeper.
“We were ecstatic about our result in Canberra last weekend. I think we needed some momentum going into this weekend. It will be a great challenge against an exciting young team.”

Melbourne City fans, team mates and coaches will be well pleased to have a young woman so determined to succeed.