Bowen's big break – world cup selection
The FIFA Women's World Cup beckons for west Auckland footballer Katie Bowen.
The 17-year-old fullback was one of the bolters named in the Football Ferns squad last week for the 16-team tournament in Germany later this month.
The side will play England, Japan and Mexico in pool matches.
Bowen, who was captain of the under-17 national team last year, joins a squad full of talented west Auckland footballers including Hayley Moorwood, Betsy Hassett, Kirsty Yellop, Amber Hearn and Ria Percival.
Despite already playing one game for the Football Ferns during a tour of China and Australia the Oratia resident says she didn't expect to make the final cut.
"I would go through the potential squad and just didn't see where I could fit in," she says.
Assistant coach Tony Readings says Katie's inclusion was quite simple – she was deemed one of the best 21 players available.
"We have a real transparent selection process where we pick who we think are the best players who will do well at the world cup," he says.
"Katie shows an ability to adapt. She can play a defensive position or move up into the midfield. She has international pace as well."
Bowen will join a squad full of veteran players. "I got to know Amber Green while on tour with team. She plays fullback as well so she is a mentor for me."
Playing against older and bigger opponents doesn't worry the Lynfield College student.
"My stature is not as big as that of a 25 year-old but I'm excited because I see myself as an underdog in that regard," she says. "And I can get aggressive, even though I'm small."
Her father Dave, a die-hard Manchester United supporter, will be travelling to watch his daughter play.
"A lot of players work hard and don't get there so I was pleased when Katie got in," he says.
"I have my tickets booked for after the quarter-finals."