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NZ names attacking squad for World Cup

New Zealand Women’s U-17 coach Gareth Turnbull has named an exciting squad to compete in the FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup in Jordan this month.

The New Zealand side, who won the OFC qualifiers earlier this year in the Cook Islands without conceding a goal, will come up against Mexico, Spain and hosts Jordan in their three pool games in the tournament which runs from September 30 – October 21. Turnbull is looking forward to seeing what his team is capable of at a FIFA World Cup against quality opposition.

“We are really excited to be able to bring this group together as we look ahead to Jordan,” said Turnbull. “The majority of this squad have been together for almost two years and most were on the recent tour of China or in the Cook Islands for the qualifiers. We are excited to test ourselves against Mexico in two weeks’ time.”

Turnbull has named three new players in his 21-strong squad. Ashleigh Emery (Western Springs) comes in as the third goal-keeper alongside forward Saskia Vosper (Forrest Hill Milford) and midfielder Rose Morton (Palmerston North Marist) for their first international call up.

“Ash has been part of our mix for a while and has shown good potential,” said Turnbull. “Saskia has had a great season with Forrest Hill and we see a lot of athleticism and pace in her that will help her cover a couple of positions which will be handy for us as a tournament such as the World Cup. Rose’s sister [Sarah] is part of the 20s and Rose is a younger member and shown a lot of promise and potential every time she has come in. She has performed every time in our environment. So we are excited to give all three of them an opportunity.”

Two players in Sarah Krystman (Claudelands Rovers) and Maggie Jenkins (Wellington United) who played in the OFC qualifiers come back into the fold after missing the recent tour to China.

“Maggie is a next cycle 17s player so she has massive potential,” said Turnbull. “She was away with the Secondary Schools tour of Australia [at the time of the China tour]. “Sarah has taken the disappointment of that non-selection for China incredibly well and deserves her selection and no doubt will be pushing for a starting spot.”

The Michaela Foster-captained team learned a huge amount on the tour of China where they lost the three fixtures to Canada, Japan and China in their first taste of football outside the Oceania region.

“We needed that, we all learned a lot from that experience,” said Turnbull. “The team now has a real benchmark of what top football at this age group is. Partly what we found in China has dictated our selections for this World Cup. We have gone for a group that is a little more athletic and that can compete for three games in eight days. We look forward to retesting ourselves.”

Turnbull said this World Cup is hugely important for the development of future Football Ferns with the FIFA World Cup in 2019 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in mind.

“This is a big part of the longer term pathway,” he said. “Looking ahead to Tokyo in four years I am hopeful that there will be a decent representation of this group in that squad. Our main strengths lie in the attacking part of the field. We have some goal scorers and goal threats and we know that we need to score goals to win games. The Ferns is the end goal but we want to perform with distinction at this World Cup and we are going there to win games. There is no two ways about it.”

New Zealand U-17 squad for the FIFA World Cup in Jordan:

Goal Keepers
Anna Leat (East Coast Bays)
Nadia Olla (Norwest)
Ashleigh Emery (Western Springs)

Defenders
Claudia Bunge (Glenfield Rovers)
Ally Toailoa (Papatoetoe AFC)
Michaela Foster (Capt) (Claudelands Rovers)
Rebecca Lake (Coastal Spirit)
Amber Phillips (Palmerston North Marist)
Francesca Grange (Wellington United)

Midfielders
Grace Jale (Eastern Suburbs)
Alosi Bloomfield (Three Kings)
Nicole Mettam (Eastern Suburbs)
Malia Steinmetz (Forrest Hill Milford)
Sarah Krystman (Claudelands Rovers)
Maggie Jenkins (Wellington United)
Rose Morton (Palmerston North Marist)

Forwards
Hannah Blake (Three Kings)
Jacqui Hand (Eastern Suburbs)
Samantha Tawharu (Forrest Hill Milford)
Emma Main (Upper Hutt)
Saskia Vosper (Forrest Hill Milford)

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