The Football Federation Australia (FFA) have appointed former Matilda Leah Blayney as the new head coach of the Young Matildas and Future Matildas programme – ahead of the AFC U19 Women’s Championship in Thailand.

The AFC U19 Women’s Championship is slated for 27 October to 9 November 2019 with the Young Matildas in Group A against DPR Korea, hosts Thailand and Vietnam.

Only the top teams in each group will earn the chance to progress to next year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

FFA Chief Executive Officer, David Gallop AM, said Blayney is deserving of the opportunity to step up into the position vacated by Gary van Egmond’s transition to the Young Socceroos.

“Leah is one of Australia’s leading young female coaches,” Gallop said.

“She has worked diligently over the past three years to earn the chance to lead the Young and Future Matildas programmes which serve as an important bridge to the senior Matildas squad.

“As a former player at both youth and senior level, Leah has a wealth of experience to share with aspiring players. We are confident that Leah’s connection to the players plus her developing coaching expertise will help her to succeed in this position.”

Blayney, who represented Australia in 16 ‘A’ international matches between 2004 and 2006, has been working as an Assistant Coach with the Young Matildas over the past three years.

During the same period Blayney, who played professionally in Australia, the United States, and Sweden throughout her career, has served as a second assistant with the Matildas as part of the FFA Female Coach Mentor Programme, and fulfilled lead scout roles for Australia at both the Rio Olympics and the recent 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

The Katoomba-born coach has also worked as head coach of football New South Wales’ NTC team, and guided an Australia U23 selection at last year’s AFF Women’s Championship held in Palembang, Indonesia.

“I am grateful for the opportunity and look forward to taking on both roles,” Blayney said.

“Our Young Matildas and Future Matildas programmes are an extra layer to support our senior women’s national team, and I very much look forward to continuing to create a nurturing, supportive, and professional environment that will continue to set a high standard for these players.” – AFC / Football Federation Australia

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