Canberra United head coach Rae Dower has announced her first W-League squad for Season 8 as Canberra prepare to defend their championship.

As they have since inception, Canberra have kept the majority of their championship winning side lead by captain Nicole Begg and Matildas duo Michelle Heyman and Ashleigh Sykes.

The capital side have received a boost with the return of Matildas custodian Lydia Williams with the goalkeeper returning from an ACL injury just prior to starring in the FIFA Women's World Cup

Veteran striker Caitlin Munoz, defender Ellie Brush - who was voted Houston Dash's best defender in the recent NWSL season - and midfielder Grace Gill are just a number of names who line up for an eighth season with the two time premiers and champions.

“The balance of the squad looks to be very good and we are happy with our recruitment process,” Canberra United CEO Heather Reid commented.

“We welcome several new players to the CU Family this season and are sure that they will be wonderful additions to our championship winning squad."

"As with any sporting team there is an evolution of players and some of our champions have departed or are taking a break from the club. We thank them for their service to Canberra United.”

Off-season departures of Lori Lindsey (retirement), Stephanie Ochs (ACL), Sally Rojahn (season rest) and Grace Field (season rest), have allowed for some new names in the stable Canberra side.

Capped Matilda and Melbourne Victory championship defender Emma Checker joins United and will be battling with Catherine Brown for the a position in the centre of defence alongside Brush.

[MORE: Checker heads to the capital]

Meanwhile Adelaide United's Jenna McCormick has been recruited to fill the space left by the attacking Rojahn at right fullback.

Internationally, the versatile Kendall Fletcher returns for a third season with Canberra and recent FIFA Women's World participants Veronica Perez (Mexico) and Emma Kete (New Zealand) join the United attack.

Perez has been capped 78 times for Mexico and will look to fill the creative void left by Lori Lindsey while Kete returns to Canberra where she was part of their first championship side in Season 4.

While 17-year-old rookie Nickoletta Flannery is the latest ACT institute graduate joining breakouts Julia De Angelis and Grace Maher.

Canberra United begins the defence of their W-League crown on Sunday 18th October when they play Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.


1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 2. Catherine BROWN, 3. Julia DE ANGELIS, 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 5. Jenna MCCORMICK, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Meg MCLAUGHLIN, 9. Grace GILL, 10. Grace MAHER, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Emma KETE, 13. Nicole BEGG, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 15. Emma CHECKER, 16. Tegan RIDING, 17. Veronica PEREZ, 18. Rebecca KITING, 19. Nickoletta FLANNERY, 20. Melissa MAIZELS