Captain Karp to lead Victory Women

Melbourne Victory Women has announced former Westfield Matilda Tal Karp as Captain for the inaugural Westfield W-League season.

Melbourne Victory Women has announced former Westfield Matilda Tal Karp as Captain for the inaugural Westfield W-League season.

Karp has been given the captain-s armband for after showing exceptional leadership qualities in the lead up to the new national competition, coupled with a football CV the envy of many.

Karp represented the Westfield Matildas at the 2003 FIFA World Cup in the USA and at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

Victory Women Head Coach Matt Shepherd said there were a number of strong candidates for the captaincy, including current Westfield Matildas goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri, but Karp-s credentials were hard to ignore.

"Tal is natural leader both on and off the field, which she has shown over a long period now," Shepherd said.

"She is a fantastic player and reads things exceptionally well.

"She is a good organiser and has a way of communicating to the players, from the youngest one to the oldest on the list.

"Obviously having experience on an international stage always helps as well and we think she is a perfect fit for the job."

Karp, 26, was first selected for the Westfield Matildas in September 2002, aged 20.

Making her full international debut as a starting 11 choice for the Matildas during a tour of Canada, Karp became the first Western Australian-born field player to play for the Australian team since 1996.

Karp has accumulated 27 caps for Australia, with personal highlights including an eye-catching performance in the Nike US Women-s Cup in 2002 and 2003 FIFA Women-s World Cup.

Karp also represented the Westfield Matildas at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, where Australia placed fifth overall.

The midfield general said she was excited to be leading Victory Women in the startup year.

"I feel honoured to have the opportunity to captain such a great team," Karp said.

"Our squad is made up of a fantastic bunch of girls along with the coaching and support staff.

"Working with them, in what is perhaps a new era of women's soccer in this country, is very exciting."

Victory Women will kick off the season against Central Coast Mariners Women at Telstra Dome this Saturday (kick off 4pm), acting as the curtain raiser to the Hyundai A-League blockbuster between Victory and Sydney FC.

"As is to be expected, there are some nerves," Karp said ahead of the season opener.

"Mostly though, I think the squad is fired up to be playing in our first Westfield W-League match at such an amazing venue, and before Victory-s match.

"We have been working hard for quite some time now in preparation, and the team is focused and ready to take on the Mariners."

Victory Women will play its first match against Mariners Women as a curtain raiser to Victory-s Hyundai A-League match against Sydney FC at Telstra Dome on Saturday, 25 October.

Victory members and all ticket holders for the Hyundai A-League match (kick off 7pm) can watch the Westfield W-League match (kick off 4pm) for free. Gates 2 and 7 at Telstra Dome will open at 3:45pm, with all other gates opening at 5pm.

Tickets are available from any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 136 100 or online through www.ticketmaster.com.au.