Brisbane Roar defender Clare Polkinghorne has been named the Westfield Matildas co-captain for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada.
She will lead the Australian squad with Melbourne Victory forward Lisa De Vanna.
Polkinghorne, who has 78 caps (five goals), captained the Westfield Matildas at last year’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
The 26-year-old from Carindale, who has captained the Brisbane Roar W-League side for the past six seasons, is one of seven Roar players in the Westfield Matildas squad.
She said it was a “massive honour” to lead her country at a World Cup.
“I’ve been lucky enough to share the co-captaincy role the last couple of years but this is extra special being on the World Cup stage,” Polkinghorne said.
“Heading into this World Cup we have set high standards for ourselves as a team, and with the talented group we’ve got, there is a lot of potential to go deep in the tournament.”
The other Roar players in Alen Stajcic’s 23-player Westfield Matildas squad are Laura Alleway, Tameka Butt, Katrina Gorry, Elise Kellond-Knight, Larissa Crummer and Hayley Raso.
Roar goalkeeper Nadine Angerer is also going to World Cup 2015 as a member of the German squad.
Polkinghorne expressed her pride in having De Vanna alongside her in the captaincy and the qualities she brings to the role.
“I’m extremely proud of Lisa. She’s got that winning attitude, she lives and breathes football and would do anything for her team mates, and to hear her speak with such passion, I think the girls can really take a lot from it,” Polkinghorne said.
The co-captaincy was announced during a farewell function for the squad hosted today by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Her Excellency Lady Cosgrove at Admiralty House in Sydney.
Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic said Polkinghorne and De Vanna, who have a combined 175 international ‘A’ appearances and 38 goals between them, were fitting choices to share the role and that they exemplified the values the squad prides itself on.
“Over the last four or five months we’ve done an extreme amount of work in terms of leadership and growing the team off the field, and these two have exemplified that more than others,” Stajcic said.
“The amount that they’ve grown and the leadership they have shown on and off the field has been tremendous and they have just risen above the pack in terms of what they offer the team.
“I’m really proud of Clare (Polkinghorne) who has been in the role before, but for Lisa De Vanna, the amount that she’s grown has been unbelievable.
“To see a player of her calibre grow so much and be able to give so much back to the team in such a short space of time is a tremendous effort and I’m really proud of the person she is and the leader she is going to be at the World Cup.”
Reigning Julie Dolan Medallist Emily van Egmond and Kyah Simon as the squad’s vice captains.
The Westfield Matildas will play a farewell match against Vietnam on Thursday, 21 May 2015 at Jubilee Oval in Kogarah (kick-off at 6.30pm AEST) before the squad departs for Canada on Saturday, 23 May 2015.
Their World Cup 2015 campaign kicks off against the United States on Tuesday, 9 June (9am AEST) at Winnipeg Stadium. Their group also includes Sweden and Nigeria.