Young Ferns on World Cup mission

In Nigeria last year, New Zealand’s U-17 men’s team became the first Kiwi side to reach the knockout stages of a FIFA tournament and now the women are aiming to make a similar breakthrough when the 16-team tournament kicks off in Trinidad and Tobago on September 5.
“It’ll be difficult,” coach Dave Edmondson admits. “There are 16 good teams and four tough groups.
“All we’re doing is targeting that first game to make the best possible start. It’s important for us to put in a performance as well as get a result. We want to play football and we think we have the players to do that.”
First up for the Young Football Ferns is Venezuela on September 7 (NZT) followed by European champions Spain three days later and Asian powerhouses Japan on September 14 (NZT).
To get up to speed, New Zealand tackle Korea Republic and the Republic of Ireland in two Miami-based friendlies en route, the first a training match played over three periods of 30 minutes less than 24 hours after stepping off the plane.
But the team plan to hit the ground running.
“It’s not perfect but in a way, with the excitement of going to a World Cup and being away from home, it’s possibly one of the best ways to get straight into it against South Korea who are a very tough team.”
Edmondson says it is likely his entire squad will play some part in the two warm ups, the current side’s first internationals outside Oceania, especially with the need to manage the physical demands of travelling.
“The players have always responded really well throughout the campaign. Some players have driven up from Hamilton or flown from Christchurch, had half an hour warm up, then gone out and played a boy’s team. And while flying into Miami the night before playing is obviously different, the players have never been fazed by challenges and I expect this to be no different in that respect.”
New Zealand’s matches at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup will be shown live on Sky Sport.
FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad & Tobago 2010
New Zealand squad: 1-Chloe-May GEURTS (GK), 2-Rachel HEAD, 3-Tessa MCPHERSON, 4-Olivia CHANCE, 5-Brittany DUDLEY-SMITH, 6-Evie MILLYNN, 7-Holly PATTERSON, 8-Kate LOYE, 9-Hannah CARLSEN, 10-Hannah WONG, 11-Grace PARKINSON, 12-Stephanie SKILTON, 13-Megan LEE, 14-Katie BOWEN (Captain), 15-Kate CARLTON, 16-Jessie MATHEWS, 17-Sivitha BOYCE, 18-Rebecca BURROWS, 19-Michelle WINDSOR, 20-Jess REDDAWAY (GK), 21-Lily ALFELD (GK).
Head Coach: Dave Edmondson
Young Football Ferns Schedule
New Zealand v Korea Republic
Miami, USA
August 28
7.30pm local time (11.30am, August 29 NZT)
New Zealand v Republic of Ireland
Miami, USA
August 31
4pm local time (8am, September 1 NZT)
FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup – Group C
New Zealand v Venezuela
Couva, Trinidad
Sept 6, 7pm (11am, Sept 7 NZT)
Live on Sky Sport 1 from 10:45am
New Zealand v Spain
Couva, Trinidad
Sept 9, 4pm (8am, Sept 10 NZT)
Live on Sky Sport 3 from 7:45am
New Zealand v Japan
Scarbrough, Tobago
Sept 13, 4pm (8am, Sept 14 NZT)
Live on Sky Sport 1 from 7:45am
Story and photo courtesy of NZF Media.
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