Sammy Murrell steps up in international play
Rising Southland football star Sammy Murrell feels her game has taken another step forward after competing at her first international tournament
Sammy was a member of the New Zealand under-16 girls' team which impressed at the five-day Ultimate Fiji Soccer Cup tournament in Fiji last week.
The Australian under-17 team, the Fiji under-18 team and the Fijian women's national side also took part in the tournament.
The New Zealand team won all three round-robin fixtures before claiming the final.
In round-robin play, the Kiwis beat the Fijian under-18 team, 7-1, and the Australian team, 3-1.
They then toppled the Fijian senior women's team, 4-1.
In the final, New Zealand again beat Australia, 3-1.
The 15-year-old Southland Girls' High School student was one of four players from the South Island in the 18-strong national squad.
The promising footballer played a part in all four matches.
Sammy said playing in the international tournament was a step up and provided a good test.
"It was really hard but really great to experience," Sammy said yesterday.
"I think I progressed every game," she said.
"It was really fast and you got pressured every time you got the ball."
As well as the higher skills level, Sammy said she had to contend with the testing conditions of playing in 30-plus degrees Celsius every game.
The Fiji tournament was used as a development tool for New Zealand Football as they consider prospective players for the 2014 under-17 women's Fifa World Cup in Costa Rica.
Sammy will continue to work with Southland Football coaches Ken Cresswell and Barry Gardiner as she chases more international opportunities on the pitch.
- The Southland Times