Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson has made a point of bringing a fresh injection of youth into the recent Matildas fixtures, as he looks to foster in the next generation of young talent ahead of hosting the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
One such player to benefit from this policy is the Western Sydney Wanderers’ Bryleeh Henry. The 18 year-old forward came debuted in the friendlies against Brazil, coming off the bench twice, and was also involved in the squad that faced the United States last week.
Speaking exclusively to Kick360 at the announcement of a sponsorship deal for the Liberty A-League Women’s side, Henry said representing her country was an honour.
“For me, it’s a childhood dream come true, I’ve dreamt of doing that my whole life. It’s pretty surreal, I’m still waiting for it to sink in even though it’s a couple weeks past, being in the same room as all the girls I’ve looked up to my whole life is pretty surreal. I can’t put it into words, it’s amazing.”
Despite only being in the camp’s for a short amount of time, she says that the experiences of training with the world class the Matildas possess, as well as coach Gustavsson, was an invaluable experience.
“Learning off Tony and the way he wants to play, his vision and how he wants to go into the World Cup and the championships coming up, I think I learnt a lot about that.
“Learning from the likes of Sam Kerr and the way they play and the way they train, I think I picked up a lot and hopefully I can continue to play that way.”
However, despite her achievements, her focus has now pivoted to helping her Wanderers side achieve success under new manager Catherine Cannuli. And hailing from Werrington Downs in Wanderers heartland, Henry has loved every second of wearing red and black.
“It means the world to me, to be able to put on this badge everyday, the club I’ve looked up to my whole life. I live in the backyard of [the] Wanderers, so to be able to put this on is an absolute honour and privilege to be able to play under the club.”
Having made 11 appearances and scored two goals in her first season at the club, Henry is looking to improve her consistency and prolific nature in front of goal.
“I play up front, so being more clinical and doing my job when I’m on the field. My job is to score goals for the team, so hopefully I can do that a lot more this year and give my best for the team and hopefully we can make finals.”
Finishing in those finals place is something the Wanderers have only achieved once before, however Henry is confident that the team will carry their momentum from the end of last season into this one.
“I think we hit the ground running towards the end of the season last year, we really picked up. If only the season was a little bit longer we probably would have made those finals stages, so I think if we can keep building off that, I think we have a really good chance.”
The Western Sydney Wanderers begin their Liberty A-League Women’s season tomorrow night against the Wellington Phoenix at WIN Stadium at 5:05pm AEDT.
Image Supplied: Western Sydney Wanderers