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Ferns squad named for USA ‘benchmark’

In his first squad selection as head coach, Readings has sprung few surprises for the February 11 game in Texas with all players drawn from last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup squad, including 15 now playing for clubs outside New Zealand.
The squad is the most experienced Football Ferns line-up ever named with the players sharing 750 caps between them.
Only midfielder Katie Bowen, recently back in training after a knee injury, was not considered for selection.
New Zealand is chasing the 12th and final berth for London – the final stage of Oceania qualifying is a home-and-away playoff against a yet-to-be-determined OFC nation in March and April – and Readings says there is no better team to play than the reigning Olympic champions to see what needs to be done between now and August.
“On any given day they are the benchmark for women’s football,” Readings says. “They will give us a clear idea of the areas we need to work on before the Olympics but also on ways in which we can hurt top-quality teams.
“They have won the Olympic gold medal three times and missed out on a third World Cup title last year in a penalty shootout. They’ve just come through Olympic qualifying without conceding a goal and capped it off with a 4-0 win over Canada in the final.
“The Olympics will be a 12-team tournament so if and when we get to London, the odds of getting two or even three top-tier nations in our pool are high. We need to play the best to prepare for the best.”
The Football ferns are also scheduled to play Northern Ireland, South Africa and South Korea at next month’s Cyprus Cup.
Football Ferns squad for USA
Goalkeepers:
Jenny BINDON (Hibiscus Coast – 60/0)
Erin NAYLER (Eastern Suburbs – 0/0)
Defenders:
Abby ERCEG (Adelaide United, AUS – 62/4)
Anna GREEN (Adelaide United, AUS – 42/5)
Kristy HILL (Three Kings United – 17/0)
Ria PERCIVAL (FFC Frankfurt, GER – 59/7)
Ali RILEY (Western New York Flash, USA – 52/1)
Rebecca SMITH (captain, VfL Wolfsburg, GER – 58/3)
Midfielders:
Betsy HASSETT (University of California, Berkeley, USA – 37/3)
Katie HOYLE (Bad Neuenahr, GER – 51/1)
Annalie LONGO (Three Kings United – 33/0)
Hayley MOORWOOD (Chelsea, ENG – 69/7)
Kirsty YALLOP (Vittsjo, SWE – 50/11)
Forwards:
Amber HEARN (USV Jena, GER – 48/23)
Sarah GREGORIUS (Bad Neuenahr, GER – 17/9)
Emma KETE (Canberra United, AUS – 42/3)
Rosie WHITE (UCLA, USA – 30/7)
Hannah WILKINSON (Glenfield Rovers – 23/9)
Staff:
Tony READINGS – Head Coach
Gordon FORREST – Assistant Coach
Julie HOGG – Manager
Jen SAYER – Physiotherapist
Brad CONZA – Sports Scientist
Story courtesy of New Zealand Football.
For more on New Zealand football go to www.nzfootball.co.nz


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