TEENAGE Jets goalkeeper Hannah Southwell has earned her first call-up to a senior Australian camp as the Matildas prepare for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Japan next month.
Southwell, 16, is a long-time member of the Emerging Jets program and in 2014 became the youngest goalkeeper in W-League history.
The Cameron Park teenager kept six clean sheets this season, including in Sunday’s goalless draw with Brisbane when she made a stunning fingertip save from a Katrina Gorry free kick.
Jets coach Craig Deans told the Herald yesterday that Southwell, who is also in the Australian under-18 rugby sevens squad, was one of the best keepers in the competition.
“We’ve probably limited the number of shots she had to save, but for a young goalkeeper that’s even tougher sometimes because she had to be ready for moments where she had to make crucial saves,” Deans said. “On the weekend there was one of those towards the end where she had not much to do and pulled off a great save.
“If I look at the other keepers in the W-League, personally I would have her in the top three.”
Deans said Lydia Williams, who has played 49 games for Australia, and Melissa Barbieri, who has retired from international football, were the most experienced custodians in the national league.
“I think, outside of Lydia Williams, there wasn’t another keeper who performed as consistently as her,” he said.
The six-team Olympic qualifying tournament starts in Osaka on February 29. The top two qualify for Rio 2016.