Princess Ibini named in Australia squad for Tournament of Nations
Uncapped teenager Princess Ibini has bolted into a strong Matildas squad for the four-country women's football Tournament of Nations in the United States.
The younger sister of former Sydney FC player Bernie Ibini was named in coach Alen Stajcic's 21-strong Australian line-up as reward for her recent impressive attacking form for the Young Matildas against Canada and the U.S. in Canberra.
"We've always known she's got a lot of potential but she really stepped up in the games against Canada and America last week, so it's a great sign she's been able to progress to senior international football," Stajcic said.
Ibini joins teenage defensive prodigy Ellie Carpenter as the two players in the squad born this millennium.
The pair will be led by established overseas-based stars Sam Kerr, Katrina Gorry, Alanna Kennedy, Caitlin Foord, Elise Kellond-Knight and Steph Catley when world No.7 Australia face the US, Brazil and Japan at the tournament.
Kerr in particular has been in scintillating form for US club Sky Blue FC, recently named the National Women's Soccer League player of the week for the second time this season after netting a hat trick.
The 23-year-old Perth native also scored a spectacular bicycle kick last month and currently sits as the league's top-scorer with 10 goals.
"Sam's exploits over in the NWSL this season are a great confidence-booster for the team," Stajcic said.
"We've got a lot of players plying their trade overseas and doing really well.
"Tameka Butt and Emily Gielnik have been two of the leading scorers in Norway, the players in America are doing really well and Caitlin Foord and Katrina Gorry have been performing well in Japan."
Key strikers Michelle Heyman and Kyah Simon are both absent as they recover from injury.
Simon will be in the U.S. on business and continue her rehabilitation with the squad.
While the Australian-based players underwent a training camp in Canberra last week, the full squad will get limited preparation before opening their account against the U.S. in Seattle on July 27.
After the tournament, the Matildas will host Brazil in two friendlies this September as they continue preparations for next April's Women's Asian Cup in Jordan.
Full Matildas squad: Lydia Williams, Gema Simon, Caitlin Cooper, Clare Polkinghorne, Laura Alleway, Chloe Logarzo, Steph Catley, Elise Kellond-Knight, Caitlin Foord, Emily van Egmond, Lisa De Vanna, Tameka Butt, Alanna Kennedy, Emily Gielnik, Hayley Raso, Princess Ibini, Mackenzie Arnold, Katrina Gorry, Sam Kerr, Ellie Carpenter, Alex Chidiac