A relatively experienced Junior Football Ferns side, including six players who have played senior international football for New Zealand, was named today for the Fifa under-20 World Cup Canada later this year.
Led by captain Katie Bowen, who has 18 Football Ferns caps, the Junior Football Ferns include five other players; Stephanie Skilton, Evie Millynn, CJ Bott, Megan Lee and Meikayla Moore who have seen top level action. Four others - Martine Puketapu, Lily Alfeld, Emily Jensen and Daisy Cleverley - have been part of Football Ferns' recent tours.
Meanwhile, six of the team for the August tournament were members of the previous New Zealand U-20 Women's World Cup side in 2012 with Bowen, Millynn, Skilton, Tayla O'Brien, Ashleigh Ward and Corina Brown going around again for the Junior Football Ferns.
Junior Football Ferns coach Aaron McFarland believes the amount of international experience accumulated by a large percentage of the squad is one of the key strengths the side will be able to call on in competing at the pinnacle age-group tournament.
"I think it's got to mean something when you compare us to teams like Costa Rica and Paraguay who will have players with limited international experience and it may, for a quite a lot of them, be their first World Cup," McFarland said.
"Everyone knows when you play these games that nerves take a toll and hopefully that experience means we can control our nerves and focus more on putting our best performances out on the field which will ultimately help us win the games."
New Zealand squad: Goalkeepers: Lily Alfeld (Mainland Football), Corina Brown, Ronisa Lipi (CapitalFootball). Defenders: C J Bott, Megan Robertson (Capital), Emily Jensen, Meikayla Moore, Ashleigh Ward (Mainland), Megan Lee (Northern Football). Midfielders: Katie Bowen (c), Hannah Carlsen (Northern), Daisy Cleverley (Auckland), Isabella Coombes (Waikato-Bay of Plenty), Evie Millynn (Capital). Forwards: Tayla O'Brien, Jasmine Pereira (Northern), Briar Palmer (Capital), Martine Puketapu, Stephanie Skilton (Auckland), Emma Rolston (Capital), Belinda van Noorden (Mainland). Head coach: Aaron McFarland. Assistant-coach: Jitka Klimkova.Match Schedule - Group D
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