Matildas fly into friendlies

EXPERIENCE: Newcastle Jets captain Gema Simon, who also plays in Norway, is one of a host of Matildas stars plying their trade overseas. Picture: Peter Stoop

EXPERIENCE: Newcastle Jets captain Gema Simon, who also plays in Norway, is one of a host of Matildas stars plying their trade overseas. Picture: Peter Stoop

There are many factors at play turning the Matildas into a world soccer superpower, and foreign experience is right up there.

Ahead of two friendlies with Brazil on Saturday in Penrith and Tuesday in Newcastle, the team camp has a decidedly international feel.

For the first time in Matildas history, coach Alen Stajcic could field an entirely foreign-based side.

The Matildas have flown into the side's Sydney-based camp from the USA, Norway, Germany and Japan.

"Everyone has shown a bit more interest in going overseas this year without a major tournament like the World Cup or Olympics," Japan-based midfielder Katrina Gorry said.

"It's to get the experience and better different parts of our games. I think that's really shown in our performances across the board."

At the Tournament of Nations in California last month, which Australia won, Stajcic came close to his first foreign-based XI. The 14 players used to beat world champions USA contained just two Australia-based players.

One, emerging defender Elise Carpenter, is just 17 and has plenty of time to forge an overseas-based career.

The other is legendary striker Lisa De Vanna, who has played in England, Sweden and USA but played her club football with state league South Melbourne this season as part of a management plan to extend her career.

At the other end of the spectrum, Elise Kellond-Knight, playing with table-topping German club Turbine Potsdam, has enjoyed a pre-season playing against European heavyweights Arsenal and PSG.

"To get a bit of exposure against elite European clubs, I've really enjoyed that," she said.

"In the two years I've been there it's been a roller-coaster with good times and bad ... but I feel like I'm developing and learning. That's why I've stayed."

Her club commitments are likely to rule out Kellond-Knight from the W-League season, but Gorry says she will be back with Brisbane Roar.

Steph Catley will also return home to captain Melbourne City after her overseas season with Orlando Pride. Catley is one of five US-based Matildas, led by striker Sam Kerr.

Her stint at the Pride, with defender Alanna Kennedy, has also allowed her to get the low-down on this week's opponents.

Three of Brazil's squad, including five-time world player of the year Marta, are part of the title-chasing Pride.

"Marta is an incredible player and really hard to mark. Fortunately training with her so I know what's coming," Catley said.

The Herald and Football Federation Australia are giving away five double passes to Tuesday night’s friendly at McDonald Jones Stadium. Go to theherald.com.au to enter.

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