Western United duo named in Squad for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Western United is proud to celebrate the inclusion of Dylan Pierias and Lachlan Wales in the Australian Men's Football Team Squad for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Australian Olympic Committee announced the squad list on Tuesday morning, with the ‘Olyroos’ returning to the Olympic arena for the first time since Beijing 2008.

Pierias has been selected in the 18-man squad, while Wales will travel with the team as one of four Train On Players. If called up to the team due to injury or other circumstances, Wales would be selected to the Australian Olympic Team at that time.

Pierias said he was honoured by the selection.

“I am extremely honoured to be given the opportunity to represent Australia at the Olympics. It’s the kind of thing you dream about as a young kid and I couldn’t be more excited,” said Pierias.  

Wales also expressed his gratitude on his selection.

“I’m very grateful and proud to be named in the squad. The Olympics is a once in a lifetime experience and I can’t wait to make some memorable moments with everyone involved,” Wales said.

Socceroos Coach Graham Arnold praised the playing style of Pierias. 

"Especially in an 18-man squad, you need flexibility and players that can play different roles. I’ve seen him play right wing-back at Western United, as a right-winger and as a number nine. That and the style of play that he brings to the game with his speed and the fact that he can score goals is a big asset for him.

“To have a player that can cover three or four positions is important in an 18 man squad," concluded Arnold.

The Tokyo 2020 Football competition will run from 22 July – 8 August at venues around Japan.

The Tokyo Olympic Games were due to take place last year but were forced to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with Australia’s qualification sealed in January 2020.

Pierias enjoyed his best season of senior football to date, featuring in all 26 of Western United’s A-League fixtures, making the starting line-up in 20 of them.

United’s No.5 scored his first A-League goal in the third game of the season before going on to add a further five by season’s end.

Pierias’ impressive campaign was capped off by being awarded the club’s Young Player of the Season for the second year in a row.

Wales was a similarly frequent fixture in Western United’s matchday squads, with 24 games added to his CV in 2020-21.

The 23-year-old scored four goals, including the Goal of the Season recipient against Wellington, and made three assists for his teammates throughout the campaign.

Wales will be out to add to the four Olyroos appearances he has made if he can break into the full squad, while Pierias could be set to make his debut at Under 23 level.

The club wishes both players all the best for their Olympic journeys and hopes to see both of them on the pitch in Tokyo.