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Alana Cerne and Kahli Johnson headed to U23 camp

Alana Cerne Kahli Johnson Western United

Western United youngsters Alana Cerne and Kahli Johnson have been called up to camp with the Australia U23 Women’s squad.

Just a day after being announced as joint winners of Western United’s Liberty A-League Women Young Player of the Season award, both players were named in a 22-player squad for a two-week training camp in Brisbane.

Having each been awarded Future Matildas scholarships earlier this year, this call-up represents a first ever to a national camp for Cerne and a first at this level for Johnson, who has been a Young Matildas regular over the past year.

Western United General Manager of Football Mal Impiombato said after a season of strong development, this recognition was just reward for both players.

“We are incredibly proud of both Alana and Kahli and believe they are both richly deserving of this call up to the Under 23’s,” he said.

“Winning our Young Player of the Season award together, both players have shown outstanding development in our inaugural season in the A-League Women.

“In particular, this is a special achievement for Alana in her first season as a professional. She represents someone who has been through our pathway in the West and is now achieving great things at the highest level.

“We signed Kahli early on in the development of our squad because of her talent and clear potential. We are very pleased with Kahli’s work this season and delighted to see her deservedly recognised for the Under 23’s.”

Cerne was a regular in Mark Torcaso’s Western United team from day one, missing just one match all season and starting each of the other 19.

That of course included Sunday’s Grand Final against Sydney where she showed terrific determination to power through a series of knocks and remain on the pitch.

Johnson was also a key part of United’s side throughout the 2022/23 campaign, playing 17 out of 20 matches and starting each of the last five games she was available for either side of a Young Matildas camp.

The No.10’s performances brought about her first two goals in senior professional football, while she also provided the assist for Hannah Keane’s winner in the Semi-Final.

Both players will join up with the squad on Monday 8 May at Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre, the CommBank Matildas’ home base for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup, before the camp concludes on Sunday 21 May.