Olympic football team named

The announcement today of the men’s football section of the Australian Olympic team was a long-awaited reward for eighteen promising athletes.

The announcement today of the men-s football section of the Australian Olympic team was a long-awaited reward for eighteen promising athletes.

In Beijing, the Under 23 team plans to continue Australia-s rise in international football after the strong performance of the senior team at the 2006 World Cup.

After a grueling Asia-group qualification campaign in 2007, picking 18 players was never going to be easy for head coach Graham Arnold.

“It was a difficult job selecting the team,” Arnold said.

“I had a look not only at current form of the players but their form right through the qualification campaign.”

Nineteen-year-old midfielder James Troisi is the youngest member of the team heading to Beijing.

“I-m excited and really looking forward to being an Olympian,” Troisi said.

“We-ve got a good squad and it-s going to be a great experience.”

Fifteen under 23 players were selected to compete in Beijing along with three overage players according to the rules set out by the IOC.

Striker Archie Thompson, midfielder David Carney and defender Jade North were selected to fill the overage roles.

“It is a real honour to be picked to go to Beijing,” Athens Olympian Jade North said.

“I can-t wait to start training with them and get over there. I really hope to go in and lead by example for the younger players.”

After finishing seventh in Athens, North wants to see the team move up the ranks this time round.

“I feel like I have been given another chance and I want to go all the way this time,” North said.

The Olympic and international experience that the three overage players bring to the team will be a vital addition to the team-s campaign in Beijing.

“The three overage players will bring both attacking and strong defence to the team,” Arnold said.

“At the end of the day though it is up to the whole team to play to the maximum of their ability. “We have a lot of work to do over the next month to build up our fitness even more and make the best of it in Beijing.”

The full squad is:

Mark Bridge - striker (Sydney FC) Billy Celeski - midfielder (Melbourne Victory) Adam Federici - goalkeeper (Reading, England) Neil Kilkenny - midfielder (Leeds United, England) Adrian Leijer - defender (Fulham Athletic, England) Trent McClenahan - defender (Hereford United, England) Mark Milligan - defender (uncontracted) Stuart Musialik - midfielder (Sydney FC) Nikita Rukavytsya - striker (Perth Glory) Kristian Sarkies - midfielder (Adelaide United) Matthew Spiranovic - defender (FC Nurnberg, Germany) Nikolai Topor-Stanley - defender (Perth Glory) James Troisi - midfielder (uncontracted) Tando Velaphi - goalkeeper (Perth Glory) Ruben Zadkovich - defender (Derby County, England) David Carney - midfielder (Sheffield United, England) - overage player Jade North - defender (Newcastle Jets) - overage player Archie Thompson - striker (Melbourne Victory) - overage player