Canberra United recruit to use W-League as springboard to US

Matildas defender Ellie Carpenter is set to use her stint in Canberra as a launching pad to a career in the United States and her first challenge will be stopping the most prolific goal-scorer in Australian history.

Carpenter will make her Canberra United debut when she clashes against Sydney FC and star striker Lisa De Vanna at McKellar Park on Sunday.

But the teenager has one eye on her future and is already considering offers from the US and Europe to move abroad when the W-League season finishes.

Carpenter's blossoming career already includes playing at the Olympic Games as a 16-year-old and cementing her Matildas spot after impressive performances this year.

Landing an overseas deal will be the next step after she begins her W-League campaign less than a week after moving to Canberra.

"I wouldn't say I'm a seasoned player, but I've definitely got experience," Carpenter said.

"I've been in the national team and I've been to an Olympics, but I still have a lot of learning to do.

"I was looking for a change and something new by being in a new environment in Canberra. I'm really looking forward to being a bit independent and playing with some new girls.

"I am a bit nervous, but I'm also just so excited to get things going."

Canberra United will be bolstered by the return of several key players, including Carpenter, who missed the opening round of the season because they were on tour with the Young Matildas.

Grace Maher, Georgia Plessas, Amy Sayer, Georgia Boric, Clare Hunt and Karly Roestbakken will join Carpenter as Canberra chases its first win of the season.

Coach Heather Garriock will integrate her young guns back into the side and look to improve on an opening round loss to the Melbourne Victory.

Carpenter, 17, will have the task of shutting down De Vanna, who played six games for Canberra last season but failed to score a goal.

De Vanna is the Matildas' all-time leading goal scorer with 43 from her 126 international appearances.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge," Carpenter said.

"Lisa and I are good mates, especially in the Matildas. It will be good to play against her and give it to her.

"I've been playing with her for two or three years now, I know her ins and outs, her weaknesses and strengths, so it's just going to be up to me about whether I can do the job.

"It's good to know her, but she's so unpredictable. She can do anything in any match and one of the best players in Australia."

Canberra suffered a early-season setback when they lost to the Victory 2-1 two weeks ago before having a by in the second round.

The clash against Sydney pits Garriock against the team she played for from 2008-12.

"Canberra is my team now and I coach for the badge. So the feeling against Sydney FC ... I just want to beat them," Garriock said.

"[Having a bye last weekend] has allowed me to give some of the Young Matildas a rest, that's the most important thing.

"There are always learning experiences in the game ... the biggest for me was while it's nice to play beautiful football ...sometimes you have to roll your sleeves up and get the result. That's what I'll hammer home this weekend."

W-LEAGUE ROUND THREE

Sunday: Canberra United v Sydney FC at McKellar Park, 4.30pm.

This story Canberra United recruit to use W-League as springboard to US first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.