Hunt called up for the Matildas

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Former Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness Elite Athlete Program member Clare Hunt has been named in the 25-player Australian Matilda’s football squad to play in the Cup of Nations in coming weeks.

The Cup of Nations will be contested by Australia, Czechia, Jamaica and Spain, with the Matilda’s taking on Czechia in Gosford on Thursday week. Some solid performances in the Cup of Nations could see Hunt stay in the Australian squad to contest the 2023 FIFA World Cup being hosted by Australia and New Zealand during July and August.

A Bachelor of Science (Physiology) graduate from 2021, the 23-year-old defender was named in the Matildas squad by coach Tony Gustavsson after some standout performances as captain of the Western Sydney Wanderers in the A-League. During the off-season, she plays with Sydney University in the National Premier League NSW. The Students claimed their fourth straight NPLWNSW premiership in 2022.

Gustavsson said the Cup of Nations squad has been selected in line with principles built in the back half of 2022. “We want to continue to create consistency and chemistry among the playing group,” he said. “This is particularly important in a tournament that mirrors the group stage play and presents an opportunity to maximise our time together with less than 200 days until the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

Hunt made her A-League debut with Canberra United as a 17-year-old in 2016, the same year she was called up for the Young Matildas when they contested the AFF Women’s Championship in Mandalay, Myanmar. She spent three seasons with the club before signing with the Wanderers. 

Although she missed a big chunk of the 2022 season with injury, Hunt still made an impact, winning the Wanderers Medal and being named on the bench in the PFA’s Team of the Season.

“Despite the challenges presented last season, I enjoyed my experience at the Wanderers,” Hunt said. “I was given the opportunity and support to develop over the course of the season, and that allowed me some consistent game times and performances. It was a privilege to represent the club and be recognised for my contribution through the Wanderers Medal.”

The Matildas’ schedule for the Cup of Nations includes matches against Czechia in Gosford on February 16, against Spain in Sydney on February 19, and against Jamaica in Newcastle on February 22.