Matildas want pressure eased on Perry

May 13, 2008

Matildas coach Tom Sermanni has urged cricket and soccer administrators against burning out teenage dual international Ellyse Perry after naming her in Australia's Asian Cup squad on Tuesday.

Perry, who has already represented Australia at senior level in both cricket and soccer, was one of two teenagers, along with Kyah Simon named in the 20-woman squad.

Australia will contest the Asian Cup in Vietnam later this month.

Perry last year became a senior Australian cricket and soccer representative at the age of just 16.

The Sydney-based defender marked her Matildas debut last August with a second minute goal, only a fortnight after becoming Australia's youngest ever senior cricketer.

Sermanni stressed the importance of the two rival sports not pressuring Perry into making a quick decision about choosing one ahead of the other.

"We're not putting her under any pressure to say you have to play football in front of cricket and I think cricket are doing the same and hopefully the next several years, she's able to balance the two," Sermanni said.

"There will be no pressure, she's 17 and we've got to look at her holistically, not just the sporting side, she's got studies, the HSC this year.

"She's managing a whole lot of things, so we just need to be very careful that we don't burn her out as a cricketer or as a footballer."

Sermanni, whose side will play Canada in a friendly on May 23 in Sydney before heading to Vietnam, described Sydney-based defender Perry as a "quintessential Australian athlete".

"I think it's very hard in male professional sport to be dual internationals because of the sophistication and nature of sport but I think in female sport there's still that capability for players to play two games at the highest level," Sermanni said.

"She has got tremendous overall skills and an ability to pick things up very quickly."

Matildas squad for Asian Cup: Goalkeepers Melissa Barbieri, Lydia Williams. Defenders Di Alagich, Kim Carroll, Kate McShea, Ellyse Perry, Clare Polkinghorne, Karla Reuter, Cheryl Salisbury. Midfielders Joanne Burgess, Amy Chapman, Lauren Colthorpe, Heather Garriock, Collette McCallum, Amber Neilson. Forwards Lisa De Vanna, Kate Gill, Caitlin Munoz, Kyah Simon, Sarah Walsh.