MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Ellyse Perry's indecision has worked in Australia's favor, with the 20-year-old university student selected for her second World Cup in different sports in just over 12 months.
Perry was selected Wednesday in Australia's squad for the women's football World Cup, and when in Germany she will be chasing her second world title in less than a year, after helping Australia win the women's cricket Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean.
The average age of the Australian squad for the World Cup is just under 22 - the youngest Matildas squad on average ever selected - so it needs to draw on all the experience at its disposal.
''To be given this opportunity is just fantastic for me, purely from the perspective that I absolutely love playing football as much as I love playing cricket,'' Perry said. ''Having had that experience with cricket and also winning a World Cup, I know how great that is and how enjoyable that is.''
Australia coach Tom Sermanni said Perry's tournament experience with cricket would be a benefit to her football teammates as they prepare to meet Brazil, Norway and Equatorial Guinea in Group D.
''I think that helps in dealing with the pressures you have to deal with at that level, but I think playing two high-level sports also helps in a lot of other areas in relation to decision making etc,'' Sermanni said. ''So I think the cricket part of Ellyse's game has really, in some ways, helped her football as well.''
Along with the pressure of representing her country at an elite level in two sports, Perry last year added a burgeoning media career to her resume, hosting local reality show Football Stars of Tomorrow. She will also have two university exams to make up for her ongoing politics, economics and social sciences degree when she returns from the World Cup.
Despite the growing workload, Perry remains reluctant to choose between cricket and football, despite passing up football's 2010 Women's Asian Cup to play cricket for Australia at the Twenty20 World Cup.
''The way that I view things is that playing the two sports is what makes me happiest and what helps me to perform as well as I can,'' she said. ''There's never been that point where I've felt like things were too much or I really needed to make a decision.''
And Perry is excited to enter an international tournament as an underdog, rather than as favorite as she normally is in cricket.
''It'll be interesting to be in that position, not being one of the teams that's hunted or looked at,'' she said. ''Rather we're the ones that have got the opportunity and freeness to play the football that we want to play and see where it goes.''