Stajcic’s subsequent remarks about her family’s ”alternative lifestyle” upset her father Kevin and were cited as a factor which could see her switch allegience to the land of his birth, the Republic of Ireland.
But Milicic appears to have calmed the stormy waters and by including the youngster – who turned 16 in February – in the party for the match with America he has held open the door to a potential World Cup spot.
Fowler is clearly a prodigious talent and has been a regular goalscorer at junior level and even in all-age soccer.
In 2018 the FFA sent an under-20 Matildas squad to Indonesia to play in the AFF senior women’s tournament and Fowler showed her precocity by notching 10 goals in five games, including two in the final.
She is, along with her talented siblings, back in Sydney now and playing with Bankstown City in the NSW NPL, where she scored twice in her only game of the season so far.
Fowler is the stand-out name in a squad that has only a few changes from the one that Milicic employed to good effect to win the Cup of Nations on home soil in February and March.
The coach insisted at the time that the World Cup door was not closed to those who had missed out then, and he has been as good as his word, stressing that he will use Australia’s camp and friendly in Colorado to give more players an opportunity to impress.
Five players that weren’t part of Milicic’s first squad have been called up for the game against the USA at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Friday April 5 (AEDT).
Experienced pair Katrina Gorry and Chloe Logarzo, both back from injury, are reinstated, along with uncapped duo Elizabeth Ralston and Teagan Micah, as well as the youngster Fowler.
“It has been my intention from the outset to give as many players as possible a chance to impress ahead of our final squad selection for France,” Milicic said in a statement.
“Katrina, Chloe, Mary, Elizabeth, and Teagan will join us in the United States, and while some players have missed out on this window that doesn’t mean that their hopes of being with us at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup are over.
“We will be looking for players to step up in the United States both in training and our match against the world’s No.1-ranked side, and as a unit we will be aiming to build upon the foundations and standards we set during the recent Cup of Nations,” he said.
Gorry has been out with injury for months, while Logarzo only missed out on the Cup of Nations victory because she injured an ankle in the grand final triumph for her club, Sydney FC, over Matildas skipper Sam Kerr’s Perth Glory.
Defender Ralston, another Sydney player, and goalkeeper Micah will be hoping to make their debuts in the upcoming high-profile game between two of the nations expected to be leading contenders in France.
Australia and the USA have played 28 international matches since their first meeting in 1987, and last met at last year’s Tournament of Nations when a first half strike from Chloe Logarzo was cancelled out by Lindsey Horan’s late second half header as the game ended all square.
MATILDAS SQUAD FOR FRIENDLY AGAINST USA
Goalkeepers: Mackenzie Arnold, Lydia Williams, Teagan Micah.
Defenders: Teigen Allen, Laura Alleway, Ellie Carpenter, Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Clare Polkinghorne, Elizabeth Ralson, Gema Simon.
Midfielders: Tameka Butt, Katrina Gorry, Elise Kellond-Knight, Chloe Logarzo, Aivi Luik, Emily van Egmond.
Forwards: Lisa De Vanna, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Emily Gielnik, Sam Kerr, Hayley Raso.
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing