Melbourne City FC began preparations for its Westfield W-League championship defence as the team commenced pre-season training on Monday afternoon.
Under the watchful eye of Head Coach Joe Montemurro, three W-League contracted players took part in the session at the City Football Academy, Melbourne, with new signing Teigen Allen training alongside teammates Tyla-Jay Vlajnic and Melina Ayres for the first time.
Newly appointed captain Steph Catley was present but did not take part in the session as she continues her recovery from injury, while contracted player Olivia Ellis was also absent.
The rest of the training squad was complemented by a number of train-on players, as the Club continues to strengthen its squad ahead of the opening W-League fixture against Newcastle Jets on Sunday 6 November.
Catley, who has made 53 appearances for the Matildas, returned to Melbourne after representing the women’s Australian national team at the 2016 Olympic Games, where the team reached the Quarter Finals.
Allen, 22, will add considerable experience to the Club’s defensive stocks, having won the coveted W-League Premiership and Championship double in 2009 during her time with Grand Final adversaries Sydney FC.
Despite her young age, Allen has made 39 appearances for the Matildas since breaking into the national team in 2009, winning the AFC Asian Cup in 2010 and representing Australia at the 2014 Asian Cup and the 2011 FIFA Womens World Cup.
Vlajnic, 25, made one appearance during City’s record-breaking inaugural season, featuring in the Club’s maiden W-League Melbourne Derby win in Round 2.
A technically sound defender who poses a threat at set-pieces with a deadly left-foot, Vlajnic was an integral member of the Calder United team which won the inaugural PlayStation 4 NPL Women’s championship.
Ayres, 17, was a substitute during City’s first ever W-League match and scored the final goal in a 6-0 win over Sydney FC.
The talented teenager will provide competition for places in the Club’s attacking third, having enjoyed a breakout season for Alamein FC in the NPL Women’s Victoria competition with a stellar return of 23 goals from 17 matches.
Ayres was also a member of the Young Matildas squad which reached the Semi Finals of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Womens Championship in July, alongside promising defender and City teammate Ellis.
Ellis, 17, re-affirmed her status as one of Victorian football’s most promising talents with a stellar NPL Women’s Victoria campaign for Bulleen Lions, following on from two W-League appearances for City last season.
City will host a total of six home matches in Melbourne for the campaign – four at CB Smith Reserve and two at AAMI Park.
The Club’s record-breaking Men’s and Women’s teams will unite for the first of two home double-headers of the season on Sunday 27 November, where the W-League Melbourne Derby will be played prior to the Club’s A-League fixture against Wellington Phoenix.
Both teams will square off against Perth Glory in the remaining home double-header to be played on Tuesday 27 December at AAMI Park.