UCLA goalkeeper Teagan Micah and former Nevada midfielder Aivi Luik will be travelling to France next month, with the pair today named to the Matildas’ squad for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup. The duo become the first players with NCAA Division I experience to represent the Matildas at a World Cup since 2007, when former San Diego State midfielder Danielle Small was selected for her second World Cup appearance.
Luik made her debut for the Matildas in 2010, four years after finishing a college career that culminated in a trip to the NCAA Tournament, but despite featuring in the Matildas’ 2010 Asian Cup winning squad and also in last year’s team that finished as runner-up, myriad circumstances had deprived the midfielder of a World Cup spot until now. A veteran of 76 W-League games and 21 caps for the Matildas as well as vast experience overseas, the 34-year-old will be one of the oldest debutants in the history of the competition should she take to the pitch, and will also be the second-oldest player in the squad after Lisa De Vanna. Despite her lack of World Cup experience, Luik has plenty of big games under her belt at college, W-League, European, and international level, and there is no doubting that the commanding midfielder will be right at home on the big stage in France.
Micah on the other hand, is still in the early stages of her career, with a year of eligibility at UCLA still up her sleeve following the World Cup. Having struggled to secure a starting berth in the W-League at Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers, Micah’s move to UCLA precipitated a meteoric rise. All but ever-present between the sticks for the Bruins for the last three seasons, Micah helped the Bruins to a College Cup championship game berth in 2017, finishing as national runner-up. Emerging as one of the top goalkeepers in the college ranks, Micah forced her way into calculations, being selected in the squad for the recent friendly against the United States, having also received an emergency call-up to the Tournament of Nations in 2017. Whilst the goalkeeping pecking order is well and truly established with Lydia Williams and Mackenzie Arnold as the top two choices, at the very worst this will undoubtedly be a top-shelf learning experience for Micah as she looks to put together a solid final season at UCLA before entering the pro ranks.
The Matildas kick off their World Cup campaign on June 9 against Italy in Valenciennes, before taking on Brazil and Jamaica in their final two group stage games. All Matildas games will be shown live on SBS and Optus Sport.