White knocking on doors

The 2014 OFC Women’s World Cup Golden Ball winner has already amassed a string of impressive accolades in her short career.
She grabbed headlines in 2008 when she scored a hat trick for the Young Football Ferns against Colombia at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. She then repeated the feat against Chile at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile.
She was one of the youngest ever players to make their debut for New Zealand when she came on as a 15-year-old against China in 2009 and has won New Zealand Football’s Young Player of the Year (women) in 2008 and 2009 as well as picking up the 2008 OFC Player of the Year.
She’s attended an U-17 Women’s World Cup, three FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups, the Olympic Games and the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Last week she helped the Football Ferns qualify for their third consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup – and all this before she’s graduated from University.
oceaniafootball.com spent five minutes with the 21-year-old OFC Women’s Nations Cup Golden Ball winner before she joined her teammates in celebrating their title.
She may have been to countless FIFA World Cup events but for White nothing beats what lies on the horizon for the Football Ferns.
“No, no I don’t think it’s the same as the age-group World Cups at all. I think it’s a whole new level, I don’t even think it compares,” she explains.
“This is like the pinnacle of football for women and it’s really, really exciting. I don’t think we’ll ever get a grasp of how it’s going to feel until we get there but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Not only has she helped earn tickets to Canada 2015 but the UCLA sociology student also picked up the tournament’s coveted Golden Boot award – an honour which took her by surprise.
“I think that it’s kind of a testament to the team, I think that there would have been so many different players on the team that could have gotten it,” she says revealing her modesty.
“I think we’re pretty happy with how we played in some challenging conditions, so I think it was a good week and obviously exciting to get that but no, I’m really happy with the team and everything.”
Conditions in Kokopo were steaming but ever the professional, White says playing in difficult conditions is all part and parcel of the journey.
“I think it’s really cool to have such diversity in our region to play in. Obviously adjusting to the climate has its problems but I think we did well.
“You just have to deal with it. And it could be anything like that in Canada so we just have to set about adjusting as quick as possible I guess.”
As for the competition, White says the Football Ferns’ Pacific neighbours always pose a challenge.
“You obviously face different challenges playing against these teams.
“I think it’s been cool for us to come in as a group, and it’s always cool to get together,” she says of the opportunities the tournament offered.
“We have different goals to work on and we were focusing a lot on us over this week, trying to be really dangerous in attacking and did everything that we could to make sure we got the most out of the games, and we did.”
The Football Ferns journey to Canada continues this month as they gear up to take on two top ten sides – France and Norway.
“Those are going to be very different from what we’ve just played,” White says.
“Every game we play leading up to the World Cup is going to be a challenge for us and I think it’s really important that we make the most out of every opportunity.
“There’s so little time between now and the World Cup, it’s all very exciting.”
And while her career with the national team is ticking along nicely, White does have a few decisions to make in the not-so-distant future.
“I’m actually finishing in December so I’m nearly done at University and on that journey so I’m going to have to find something else to do until June next year,” White says.
“I want to go and play overseas in Europe, hopefully professionally, before the World Cup so finding an environment that fits leading up to that will be ideal.”
With the majority of the Football Ferns squad based in clubs scattered across Europe, USA and Asia, White certainly has a knowledgeable crew to seek advice from.
“We’ve got girls everywhere, there’s girls in Germany, England, Sweden and Japan and I kind of have in my head that I want to play in Sweden.
“It seems like a good place to be and a good place for football so that would be pretty cool I think.
“But I think that whatever ends up suiting me best is what will end up happening, I don’t have anyhting set in stone.”
The Football Ferns will be in action against France on Saturday 22 November (Sunday 23 November NZT) and Norway on Thursday 27 November (Friday 28 November NZT).

 

 

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