College Matildas in the 2020/21 W-League

Alisha Bass (Photo: Ted Brummond)

No, your eyes are not deceiving you – Alexandra Huynh really isn’t one of the College Matildas in the W-League this season, with the former Western Sydney Wanderers defender now plying her trade in Italy with Napoli. However, there are quite a number of former college stars back in the W-League this season, including Teagan Micah, Rachel Lowe, and Alisha Bass, who will play her first W-League minutes since turning out for Western Sydney Wanderers in 2012/13.

Isabel HODGSON | Adelaide United | East Tennessee State

A mainstay of the Adelaide United squad since her return from college in 2018, Isabel Hodgson is now in her sixth W-League season with the Reds and her third since completing her career at East Tennessee State. 2019/20 saw Hodgson play in 11 games, a significant improvement on her 7 appearances the season prior, particularly as six of those seven appearances came off the bench. Now almost part of the furniture at Adelaide United, Hodgson will be hoping that regular showings can be turned into major impact as the Reds look to mix it with the more-storied clubs in 2020/21.

Dylan HOLMES | Adelaide United | Colgate

Dylan Holmes played just the one game in her lone season at Colgate, but since that time has been showing the Raiders’ brass exactly what they missed out on her way to earning the Adelaide United captaincy for the 2020/21 season. Having played in all 24 of Adelaide United’s games over the past two seasons, Holmes has developed into one of the most crucial members of the Reds’ lineup and will reprise that role as they look to improve on last season’s 7th position. A match-winning hat-trick in the space of 10 minutes in the NPL South Australia semi-finals capped a brilliant season as Adelaide City finished as premiership winners before falling in the grand final, and if Holmes can maintain that level of play throughout the W-League campaign, bigger things may be on the horizon for the Reds’ newest skipper.

Laura JOHNS | Adelaide United | Massachusetts

Originally a midfielder, Laura Johns has been deployed as a fullback in more recent times for Adelaide United and flourished, becoming an integral part of the Reds’ setup in the process. Dangerous going forward and increasingly reliable in her defensive duties, the former Massachusetts star now has 37 W-League appearances under her belt, and could make her 50th this season if the Reds do sneak their way into the finals. That will hardly be at the forefront of Johns’ mind though; her aim this season will be to continue to perform at the level that has seen her name become an almost-permanent fixture in the starting lineup over the past two seasons. However, if she does, it will go a long way to furthering the Reds’ cause to make the semi-finals and securing that milestone 50th appearance this season.

Isobel DALTON | Brisbane Roar | Lindsey Wilson/Colorado

After a brief stint alongside Alexandra Huynh at Napoli in Italy’s Serie A, Isobel Dalton returns home to Brisbane Roar for her third season with the club. A starter in 9 of her 11 appearances for the Roar in 2019/20, Dalton is well-entrenched as a member of the Roar squad, whether deployed in midfield or a more defensive role. That ability to play multiple positions could be the ace up the sleeve for Dalton, particularly with spots in the midfield at a premium given Tameka Yallop and Katrina Gorry are locks to take up two of those positions.

Rebekah HORSEY | Brisbane Roar | Cisco College/Houston

Fresh off a season with Canberra United, Rebekah Horsey will remain closer to home in 2020/21 as the Queenslander links up with Brisbane Roar for her second W-League campaign. After making seven appearances in green in 2019/20, Horsey made the switch from Lions FC to Mitchelton for the NPL Queensland season, making 19 appearances and tallying four goals as her team finished in 8th position. Having started in 3 of her 7 appearances in her debut W-League season, Horsey will be hoping to grab one of the starting berths in the Roar midfield alongside Matildas stars Tameka Yallop and Katrina Gorry.

Demi KOULIZAKIS | Canberra United | Texas Tech

A premiership winner and grand finalist with Sydney University in NPLW New South Wales in 2020, Demi Koulizakis has made the move to the nation’s capital to join Canberra United, her second W-League team following a pre-college stint with Western Sydney Wanderers. A premiership winner and grand finalist with Sydney University in NPL New South Wales this season, Koulizakis will be hoping to build on the form shown in the 2019 college season, during which she became a vital cog in the Texas Tech operation. Goals mostly eluded Koulizakis at NPL level this season, with her only tally coming from a deflection, but her ability to set up teammates was also on show regularly for Texas Tech, making the Endeavour High School product a multi-faceted threat in attack.

Teagan MICAH | Melbourne City | UCLA

Having recently been named in the Norwegian Toppserien Team of the Year by the Norwegian News Agency (NTB) despite an injury-shortened campaign, Teagan Micah heads into her first season with Melbourne City in fine form. City will be Micah’s fourth W-League club, having spent time with Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers before heading to college and having a brief stint with Melbourne Victory last season. Now, the current Matildas third-choice goalkeeper gets a chance to start for a team that will challenge for silverware as she looks to maintain her spot in the national setup going forward.

Harriet WITHERS | Melbourne City | Murray State

The only two-time College Matildas Player of the Year, Murray State legend Harriet Withers finally gets a deserved chance in the W-League with Melbourne City. Scorer of 37 goals in 77 games in her four years with the Racers, Withers was the first player in Murray State soccer history to have her number retired, and only the second Racers player in any sport outside football and basketball to earn that honour. Withers continued to display that goalscoring prowess in NPL Queensland, banging home 12 goals in 14 games for Souths United, and had she played a full 20-game campaign, would have been right in the mix for the Golden Boot award.

Amy JACKSON | Melbourne Victory | Florida International

A fixture in the W-League for most of the last decade, Amy Jackson is a stalwart of the competition, having won three championships with Melbourne City before returning to her first club, Melbourne Victory, in 2019. Now with in excess of 100 appearances in the W-League, the Florida International legend is one of the most experienced players in the competition, whilst her performance level rarely wavers. Generally deployed shielding the back four, Jackson is exactly the kind of player a coach wants protecting the team’s defence: capable, willing, experienced, and unlikely to commit a major error.

Lauren ALLAN | Newcastle Jets | Butler CC/Anderson

The only player in this list to not have played at the NCAA Division I level, Lauren Allan has helped prove that players from outside the top level of college soccer can make their mark in the W-League. The speedy attacker featured on 11 occasions last season, making two starts and banging home her first goal in a 4-2 defeat to Perth Glory, with the assist coming from current Creighton winger Renee Pountney. With fellow speed merchant Sophie Harding joining the Jets this season, the pair will ensure that defences are on their toes at all times as they look to break the line at every opportunity.

Alisha BASS | Newcastle Jets | Wyoming

Having played for both Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers prior to her four years at Wyoming, Newcastle Jets will be Alisha Bass’ third W-League club as the Cowgirls legend makes her return to top-flight football in Australia. Primarily a midfielder but with the ability to play anywhere from centre back to centre forward, Bass will be looking to continue the form that saw her play a commanding role for North West Sydney Koalas in this year’s NPLW New South Wales competition, during which she made 11 appearances and finished with 4 goals. If the former Wyoming star can chip in with the odd goal at W-League level this season alongside creating for her teammates, Bass could yet swing a few tight games in the jets’ favour.

Jemma HOUSE | Newcastle Jets | Wyoming/Nova Southeastern

A former teammate of Alisha Bass at Wyoming before moving to NCAA Division II program Nova Southeastern, local product Jemma House dominated the recent Northern NSW Premier League season, banging home 33 goals in 16 games in Newcastle Olympic’s double-winning campaign and earning herself a W-League spot with the Jets. The Northern NSW competition has not always been the most reliable barometer of success in the W-League, but House outscored former Jets international star Jen Hoy by 11 goals this season, which can only be seen as a positive. Now, House gets the chance to test herself at the highest level in Australia, with spots in a new-look Jets lineup there for the taking as a number of state league stars look to cement their spot in the W-League.

Rachel LOWE | Sydney FC | UCLA

It was a short stint at UCLA for Rachel Lowe, as a combination of factors led to the dynamic midfielder choosing to continue her career in Australia for the time being. Having started her career at Western Sydney Wanderers prior to her time at UCLA, Lowe has made the move to crosstown rivals Sydney FC, where it looks as though she will slot straight into the starting lineup. With Allira Toby and Cortnee Vine joining Remy Siemsen as part of the Sky Blues’ strike force this season, Lowe will have plenty of reliable targets with which to feed pinpoint passes as she looks to make a return to the Matildas’ side for the first time since making her debut at the 2018 Algarve Cup.

About Lachy 306 Articles
Founder of College Matildas. An Australian women's football fan who also happens to be a college sports fan. Often found at W-League or NPLW games.

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