Football: Excitement machine Sam Kerr to spearhead Matildas in Newcastle

STUNNER: Sam Kerr celebrates after scoring her third goal against Japan at the Tournament of Nations. Picture: APEXCITEMENT machine and FIFA world female player of the year contender Sam Kerr will spearhead a Matildas side that features Newcastle duoEmily van Egmond and Gema Simon in the two-match series against Brazil next month.

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Coach Alen Stajcic named a 20-woman squad on Wednesday for the games against the South Americans in Penrith on September 16 and at McDonald Jones Stadium on September 19.

As well as Van Egmond and Simon, former Jets W-League players Chloe Logarzo and Georgia Yoeman-Dale will take on a Brazil side featuring multiple player of the year Marta.

Kerr’s recent exploits for Sky Blue FC in the United States have captured the attention and imagination of football fans in Australia and across the globe.

“Sam’s really had a breakout 12 months in the Westfield W-League and the NWSL,” Stajcic said.

“She’s matured as a player and a person, and the group couldn’t be prouder of her.Sam is one of many exciting players we have selected that are keen to make the most of this series.”

For van Egmond and Simon the Newcastle game is a rare opportunity to wear the greenandgold in front of family and friends on home turf.

“To be aNewcastlegirlandbe able to play in your home town is very special,” van Egmond told the Herald in July at the official announcement of the international series.

“Newcastlehas been a strong breeding ground for female footballersandI am very much looking forward to September.”

Stajcic’s squad will enter the campaign against Brazil with confidence having recorded a 6-1 win over the South Americans at the recent Tournament of Nations (TON) in the United States earlier this month.

“There is a great buzz within this squad to come home and play and perform in front of large home crowds in Penrith and Newcastle,” Stajcic said. “It will be a privilege to host Brazil and the team can’t wait for the matches.Our staff are in contact with the players daily and we have access to a lot of footage of the girls playing abroad, and it has been fantastic to see so many of our girls performing consistently at a high level.”

Less than 1,000 tickets remain for the match at Pepper Stadium in Penrith on Saturday. More than 9000 tickets have been sold for the Newcastle game.

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