Photo Credit: Auckland United FC Media

Auckland United FC head to the Solomon Islands for the OFC Women’s Champions League 2024 as history makers. Having been without a New Zealand representative at last year’s tournament in Papua New Guinea, the team will be breaking new ground for women’s football in the country when they kick-off their campaign against Labasa Women FC on March 11.

2023 proved to be an incredibly successful year for Auckland United on the domestic front. The team won the NRFL Women’s Premiership for the first time and followed that up by capturing the NZF Women’s National League.

They finished top of the National League, level on points with Southern United, their Grand Final opponents. A goal in each half at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland was enough to clinch the title and ensure their passage to the OFC Women’s Champions League 2024.

Head Coach Ben Bate is excited for his team to be the first Kiwi club in the tournament’s short history, and he’s confident his side will handle the challenge well.

“We are hoping to do the country proud and go deep into the tournament. The team acknowledges the challenges ahead, including potential climate-related obstacles and an element of the unknown within the competition.

“Being the first New Zealand team to be able to attend the competition is a matter of great pride for the club and a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to enable us to be able to attend. However, with past experience in qualifiers for several of the players we view these challenges as opportunities for the team to bond.

“It’s a great opportunity for us as a team to face and overcome these challenges together. The team features a mix of experience and youthful energy with eight players 18 and under from the 18-player squad,” Bate said.

Player to Watch

Talisha Green will captain the squad at the tournament and has been a domestic stand-out since breaking into first team football as a 15 year-old, seven years ago.

Green is a tough-tackling full-back, who leads by example and is relishing the opportunity to lead the team at the OFC Women’s Champions League.