Football Fern Anna Green has enjoyed a lengthy career that has taken her to all corners of the globe.
She made her senior international debut as a teenager in 2006 and has played at multiple major tournaments for New Zealand, including three FIFA Women’s World Cups.
Now based in Wellington, she balances her work as an accountant alongside playing for Capital Football in the ISPS Handa Women’s Premiership.
Green made her return to the pitch following a serious knee injury during Capital’s match against WaiBOP on Saturday.
OFC Media caught up with the 30-year-old recently for a chat about her time in the game.
New Zealand will co-host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023; are you going to make yourself available for that tournament?
That’s the plan. I’m just going to see how this comeback from my ACL injury goes but I think the home World Cup is every player’s dream so if that’s at all possible, I’d love to be eligible for selection for that.
You’ve been around the international football arena for a while now, are you still motivated to play at the top level?
Deadset. The home World Cup is every single player’s dream so if that’s not motivation enough for anyone then you’re probably doing the wrong thing and you may as well just quit, because that’s it.
What are you doing with yourself in Wellington?
I work in Deloitte’s Private team. We look after small to medium businesses and high-value individuals. That’s probably quite boring to everybody else but I also train with the Phoenix academy boys and the Capital national women’s league team.
Is it tough to balance work and playing at a high level?
It’s definitely challenging at times and it can lead to some quite long days but my work’s really supportive of my football and any endeavours I pursue there so I’ve got a dream scenario at the moment.
You last played as a full-time professional with Reading in England in 2018, is it something you see yourself returning to?
No. I was pretty sure that I wanted to come back to New Zealand and be close to family and I wanted to get into my accounting career, so I’m pretty happy being back in Wellington.
Your professional career took you around the world to the likes of Germany, Sweden and Australia; have you had time to reflect on that journey?
I think we are in a really privileged position to be professional footballers and to meet such a diverse range of people, to really experience cultures, not just for a week or for a month, you get to really get embedded in how people in those countries live their day-to-day life and I think that’s a real privilege and something that not many people get to do.
So, I think one of the things that I will take away from my professional career is that I’m so grateful to have experienced so many different cultures and met such a diverse range of people.
What was your reaction when it was confirmed that New Zealand would co-host the FIFA Women’s World Cup alongside Australia in 2023?
I didn’t know if I was a bit naïve or not but I was just looking at the other candidates and I thought this was a shoo-in, of course we are the best two candidates to host it, so I wasn’t surprised and I think that’s probably just a bit ridiculous of me and being a bit one-eyed.
But I’m just so thrilled for the change that’s bound to have on women’s football in New Zealand. I think sometimes we forget what a global game it is and just what an impact that a World Cup can have.
It’s really exciting for those younger generations to be able to experience that and see the beautiful game in the flesh and the world’s best players on home soil.
You’ve been a key part of the rise in women’s football in New Zealand during the past decade, what does that mean to you?
It’s really special. I think that’s part of the dream of being a [Football] Fern is the legacy that you get to leave behind and I think that’s a really important part and I think the Ferns understand that, particularly the girls that I started with and that came through when there was that real culture shift.
So I think it’s really exciting, it’s a real privilege to have been involved with it for such a long time at such a high level and to be able to leave the game and particularly the Ferns in a better place than it was when I came into it.