The Western Sydney Wanderers are taking their investment into their W-League program to another level.
The club are taking their players on a four day camp on the Gold Coast which includes a friendly against China on Sunday in Brisbane. The camp coincides with their bye week.
The Wanderers have made it clear this season they will take female football seriously and have so far delivered.
The Wanderers sit in second spot on the ladder with an unbeaten record. The club has recruited some big game players and so far they have five wins and a draw from six matches.
American international Lynn Williams has been a star this season along with fellow visa players Abby Smith, Kristen Hamilton and Denise O’Sullivan.
The club also signed W-League veterans Amy Harrison and Ella Mastrantonio as well as young guns Kyra Cooney-Cross and Courtney Nevin.
The club also has excellent facilities at Rooty Hill which has been well and truly embraced by the players. This weekend indicates how seriously the club is taking its W-League team, and importantly it shows how much the football world is taking notice of the Wanderers.
China are ranked 15 in the world and for them to pick the Wanderers out for a trial game is a huge compliment to the club, with coach Dean Heffernan admitting it was a privilege for his team to feature in such a game.
“It’s a massive opportunity for us as a football club first and foremost to represent the Wanderers against an international team from Asia,” Heffernan told the Wanderers website.
“It’s a massive thing for us and something we are not taking lightly.”
Heffernan admits the Wanderers are in a good place heading into the second half of the season.
“It’s a great feeling in camp at the moment, everyone’s obviously happy,” he said. “We’re very lucky to have the group of players that we’ve got.
“They enjoy competing, every day in training. They enjoy winning, they don’t want to be scored against.”
Heffernan is excited about the prospect of some fringe players getting a chance against China, with Williams unavailable for this weekend’s match after being called up for a training camp with the USA Olympic team.
The likes of Susan Phonsongkham, Vesna Milivojevic, Cortnee Vine and Alix Roberts are all pushing for selection into the W-League team.
Denise O’Sullivan is also likely to head back home after the game against Perth on 19 January meaning a long term spot will open up.
The first year coach, who has impressed many around the league, is expected to tinker with his team’s game style as he looks to find the perfect formula to help the Wanderwomen make their first ever finals series.
“It’s all about our mindset again going into the game, how can we be better than the previous game and how can improve on the things we’re doing at the moment.
“It’s about testing the way we play and the things we do to win football matches against international competition and take that into the following round against Brisbane.”
The Wanderers return to W-League action on Sunday 12 January at Marconi Stadium against Brisbane Roar. The Wanderers beat Brisbane 3-1 in November with Hamilton netting a hat trick.
Wanderers members get free entry to the game with the club’s new W-League supporters group “The West End” set to make their debut in this game.