Ellie Carpenter in action against the USA during a friendly match in Newcastle. Photo Credit: Izhar Khan

Ellie Carpenter in action against the USA during a friendly match in Newcastle. Photo Credit: Izhar Khan

With Cortnee Vine withdrawing from the Matildas squad due to personal reasons, it allowed Sophie Harding to come into the side.

In a video released by the Western Sydney Wanderers, Harding talked about how she found out about the call-up during a 10-hour shift at work.

This is because a lot of A-League Women players still have to work two jobs given the semi-professional nature of the competition.

Matildas star Ellie Carpenter thinks that needs to change.

“It’s obviously not what we want is people still having to work, playing in a professional or so league in Australia,” Carpenter said.

“The clubs should be paying for them to be professional athletes, not having to have a second job.

“I think for that, I think on the back of the World Cup, I think if we didn’t send a strong enough sign to say if you can invest in women’s sport.

“Obviously we’ve all gone overseas, but everyone is made in and we all grow up in the A-League so that needs to be as professional as it can be and the girls have to be 100 per cent focused on football being professional for them to be the best of themselves.

“If you’re going to training after going for a 10-hour shift, you’re not really going to be your best as a footballer the next day on the pitch.”

The women’s game has improved leaps and bounds in recent years and has reached new levels in Australia off the back of the Women’s World Cup, but Carpenter says there’s still areas where the game needs to improve.

“I know a lot of people say that women’s football has come so far, it’s so great, look at all these numbers the girls are getting paid, but I think it’s just one step.

“We’re nowhere near the end. I think there’s so much work to do so I think that in itself is a big warning flag that so many people still in the A-League are working.”

Overall, Carpenter is excited for Harding to come into the Matildas camp and experience the environment.

“But honestly, credit to her that she’s playing and performing well as well with a second job and now she gets a taste into what it’s like to be in a fully professional environment in the national team.

“I’m excited for her to see that level up and get that taste of what it is.”

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Harding is not the only new face in the Matildas squad, with Kaitlyn Torpey getting her first call-up, Daniela Galic being named as a train-on player, as well as the return of Michelle Heyman and Chloe Logarzo.

Carpenter says it is exciting to see all the new faces in the squad.

“That’s a credit to those girls who are obviously performing well in the A-League,” she said.

“They’ve been scoring, they’ve been assisting, so I think it’s a credit to them, and now they get their chance to come up into our camp and these two very important games to show what they have.

“It’s very exciting to have names back in, that have been in before and also new faces as well. I think it’s very good for our team and [I’m] looking forward [to them] coming in.”

Carpenter was also full of praise for Heyman.

“It’s massive for her personally to be called back in after five, six years [away].

“When she was in the team, she was such a great presence on the field, obviously with her height, with her scoring ability.

“I think back to the Olympic Qualifiers in Japan in 2016, she was a massive part of our team so to see her doing so well now in the A-League, it’s exciting for her.

“I think she can help the team a lot with her experience as well, and also being a senior player and [has] been to Olympics before, knows what it takes to get there as well, [and] knows what it means to be a Matilda.

“I think she’s a great person to inject into the squad.”

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