A key part of the ALL IN: OFC Women’s Football Strategy 2027 launched last year was to establish a Women’s Development Officer in every OFC Member Association. With that goal now achieved, we sit down to learn a little more about each of the women driving the growth of women’s football in our region.
Current Football Fern and two-time A-League Women’s champion Annalie Longo has recently taken on her new role as New Zealand Football Women’s Development Manager. Longo is determined to create a legacy for women in football. Read more about her below.
Tell us about yourself?
I grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and my family consists of mum who’s kiwi, dad who’s Italian and two older brothers. We had an active upbringing playing all sports and spent time outdoors on the water, fishing or water skiing. Football and dancing has always been a huge part of our family and I appreciate the support mum and dad continue to give me.
How did you get involved with the women’s development role at NZF?
I worked for the Mainland Football Federation for around six years and this role seemed like a perfect fit in terms of development, it’s the appropriate next challenge. I was fortunate to work with past Women’s Development Managers and wanted to continue that legacy of pushing women’s football forward in New Zealand.
What’s been a challenge in your MA that some people won’t understand?
We have a very strong netball and rugby union culture here in New Zealand. Shifting mindsets to the opportunities and pathways women’s football can provide is a challenge. Women’s football doesn’t get a lot of exposure and our national team doesn’t get a chance to play at home very often. As we lead into 2023, we will have a big focus on the visibility and exposure of women’s football.
What are you hoping to bring to women’s football development in New Zealand?
Passion and experience. With the FIFA Women’s World Cup held here in 2023 I am really committed to increasing participation across the country in all areas of the game.
Giving back is important to me and I want to provide girls and women with the opportunity to fulfil their true potential. Football has provided me with the world – travelling playing football, education, friendship groups, professional contracts, World Cups and the Olympics. It has given me lifelong memories that I will be forever grateful for.