Football Ferns Head Coach Tom Sermanni has named a strong squad to contest the OFC Women’s Nations Cup next month in New Caledonia.
The Scot, who was named as the new coach for the World No 20 on Friday, has named 22 women in his squad which has a good blend of experience and a number of exciting young players.
Four players – captain Ali Riley, Betsy Hassett, Ria Percival and Annalie Longo – have played more than 100 A Internationals for New Zealand – while others are at the start of their international careers like Liz Anton, Sarah Morton, Paige Satchell, Katie Rood, Grace Jale, Nadia Olla, Emma Rolston, Steph Skilton and Victoria Esson.
The vastly-experienced Percival, who earlier this year signed with West Ham United, has overcome a knee injury which ruled her out of the June international against Japan to return to the national side.
Sermanni has got straight into work and been busy with the football department at NZ Football to confirm his first squad in his time in charge.
“I am really pleased with the balance of this squad,” said Sermanni. “We haven’t had a huge amount of time to prepare, but I have been working hard behind the scenes with the guys at NZ Football in Andy Boyens, Gareth Turnbull and Owain Prosser to get their insight and we are confident in the group of players we have selected.
“I know most of the more experienced players well after my time coaching both Australia and the USA, and those guys have been a huge help in completing the squad for this tournament.”
Experienced Ferns’ forwards Hannah Wilkinson (knee) and Amber Hearn (knee) were not considered due to injury.
The players competing at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay – most notably Ferns goalkeeper Anna Leat and Gabi Rennie, Aneka Mittendorff and Maggie Jenkins who all represented New Zealand at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in August – were not considered for selection.
Sermanni said his team would take nothing for granted as they look to book their place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019 and also the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I am looking forward to getting into work with these players and building towards our goal which is to qualify for the World Cup in France. If we are able to manage that, then we will begin to look at our goals for the World Cup.”
The defending champions will be the favourites for the title which will be staged from 18 November – 1 December. The Football Ferns will face Tonga, the Cook Islands and Fiji in Group B where they will play all of their games in Noumea.
The Football Ferns will complete a four day training camp in Auckland before flying to New Caledonia for the start of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup.
Football Ferns squad for the OFC Women’s Nations Cup
Country, Caps and Goals
Elizabeth Anton, Auckland Football 3, 0
CJ Bott, Vittsjo GIK, Sweden 10, 0
Katie Bowen, Utah Royals, USA 52, 2
Victoria Esson, Canterbury United Pride 2, 0
Anna Green, Capital Football 67, 7
Sarah Gregorius, Capital Football 85, 25
Betsy Hassett, KR Reykjavik, Iceland 103, 8
Grace Jale, Auckland Football 0, 0
Annalie Longo, Canterbury United Pride 106, 10
Meikayla Moore, MSV Duisburg, Germany 27, 1
Sarah Morton, Auckland Football 1, 0
Erin Nayler, Girondins Bordeaux, France 54, 0
Nadia Olla, Auckland Football 0, 0
Ria Percival, West Ham United, England 130, 13
Ali Riley, Chelsea FC, England, 115, 1 (c)
Emma Rolston, MSV Duisburg, Germany 2, 0
Katie Rood, Bristol City, England 4, 0
Paige Satchell, Auckland Football 4, 0
Stephanie Skilton, Auckland Football 5, 0
Malia Steinmetz, Northern Lights 2, 0
Rebekah Stott, Melbourne City, Australia 64, 4
Rosie White, Chicago Red Stars, USA 91, 17