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NWSL: Meet your Matildas

Lisa De Vanna (F), Boston Breakers
Michael Dodge/Getty Images

If the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) had a New Year's calendar, 2014 would definitely be the Year of the Kangaroo.

The upcoming NWSL season seems to be attracting many of Australia’s top women footballers and that’s just one good sign that this young league is growing leaps and bounds (get it? kangaroo? Leaps and bounds?)... Anyhoo...

If you haven’t been paying attention, just take a look at the Aussies who are packing their pouches and heading to the states. It’s writing itself mates!

Lisa De Vanna (F), Boston Breakers
Lisa De Vanna (F), Boston Breakers Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Lisa De Vanna (F), Boston Breakers

One of the speediest and more physical strikers in women’s football today, De Vanna was a big part of the Sky Blue FC attack last season. Which is why it came as a bit of a surprise when the team recently traded her to Boston for a 2014 international roster spot and first-round pick in the 2015 NWSL College Draft.

The Aussie international scored five goals and added two assists in 16 games for Sky Blue in 2013, helping lead her club to the inaugural NWSL playoffs. De Vanna’s 38th-minute strike held up as the game winner in Melbourne Victory’s 2-0 win over Brisbane the 2014 W-League Grand Final.

De Vanna has 75 caps for the Australian Women’s National Team with 32 goals. In the fall of 2013, De Vanna was named Female Footballer of the Year by the Football Federation of Australia and also nominated for FIFA’s Puskas Award for Goal of the Year (a bicycle kick goal against the Breakers).

Katrina Gorry (M), FC Kansas City
Katrina Gorry (M), FC Kansas City Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Katrina Gorry (M), FC Kansas City

The 21 year old joins the Blues after a stellar year with W-League runner-ups, Brisbane Roar.

The W-League fans know her well, as she has played for Adelaide United and the Melbourne Victory. Gorry is considered a playmaker in the midfield with six goals in 27 appearances over her W-League career.

The young Aussie plans on joining the roster in early June, after playing in World Cup Qualifying for the Australian Women’s National Team in the Asian Cup.

Samantha Kerr (F), WNY Flash
Samantha Kerr (F), WNY Flash Mark Nolan/Getty Images

Samantha Kerr (F), WNY Flash

After bursting onto the Westfield Matildas scene as a promising 15-year old, Kerr has fast become one of the most dynamic and recognizable faces in the women’s game today.

Like other Aussies, the 5-foot-8 winger is also a star in the W-League, playing at one time for her hometown Perth Glory and more recently for Sydney FC.

In 2013, she tallied six goals and five assists, helping to lead the Flash to the NWSL inaugural championship game. The 20-year old was named 2012-13 Women’s Footballer of the Year by Professional Footballers Australia, as well as the 2012-13 International Player of the Year.

Stephanie Catley (D), Portland Thorns FC
Stephanie Catley (D), Portland Thorns FC Tony Feder/Getty Images

Stephanie Catley (D), Portland Thorns FC

The 20-year old defender goes from one champion to another. She recently signed with NWSL champion Portland Thorns FC from the W-League champs, Melbourne Victory.

A two-time winner of the Football Federation of Australia’s U-20 Player of the Year award, earning the honor in 2012 and 2013, Catley made her pro debut in 2009 for the Victory as a 15-year old. She has played every minute of all 12 W-League games this year.

Caitlin Foord (D), Sky Blue FC
Caitlin Foord (D), Sky Blue FC Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Caitlin Foord (D), Sky Blue FC

The 19-year old Shellharbour native returned home after the 2013 season to play for Sydney FC in the W-League.

Foord became the youngest Australian to ever play at the Women’s World Cup when she joined the Matilda’s in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup at the age of 16.

The speedy defender appeared in 15 matches for SBFC during 2013, starting every game in which she played and logging 1,291 minutes. The young Aussie was named to the NWSL Second Xl squad for her outstanding play during the season.

Kyah Simon (F), Boston Breakers
Kyah Simon (F), Boston Breakers Robert Prezioso/Getty Images

Kyah Simon (F), Boston Breakers

In 2013, the 5-foot-4 striker started 11 of the 17 games she appeared in for the Breakers, scoring 3 goals and 3 assists. Simon is also assigned to Western Sydney Wanderers of the W-League.

Not long after the end of the 2013 season, Simon suffered a brutal ACL injury while playing for the Australian Women’s National Team in an international friendly against the USA. Boston fans will miss the young Aussie, as she recovers from ACL surgery and will be unavailable for the entire 2014 NWSL season.