New Zealand defender Ria Percival will break the record for his country’s most capped player if she play in the final Group B clash against Fiji on Sunday at the OFC Women’s Nations Cup in Noumea, New Caledonia.
Percival reached a milestone against Cook Islands as she equaled the record for the most A internationals for New Zealand with 132 caps with former Ferns skipper Abby Erceg.
The 28-year-old has been a key member of the Football Ferns defense with her vast experience playing professional football in Europe.
Percival made her international debut for New Zealand in 2006 against China, having represented her nation at the U-20s Women’s World Cup just a few months prior.
Less than a year later, Percival would once again be at the World Cup, playing for the full New Zealand team at the finals in China.
A spot in the squad for the 2008 Olympic games followed.
With 132 caps to her name, Percival has played for her nation at six major competitions, most recently the 2015 World Cup and now looks set to once again helping her country to another World Cup appearance next year in France.
Percival has had a 12 year mainstay with the national team and highlighted such milestone as a great moment in her career.
“I think it is obviously a great achieving personally but obviously I have been in the team now for a number of years and to reach a milestone it’s a great achievement, a great honour”, the West Ham defender said.
“Definitely I remembered obviously my first game as a 16-year-old was against China, it’s my debut.
“And obviously looking at that now and I think how far we come and grow us a team and I think we just keep growing in the team.
“To me I just keep my team move forward, get stronger and getting winning performances.”
Percival said the Ferns still have a very important game left against Fiji to focus in the group.
“Obviously we still ready and know that but that’s not our focus as we are taking every game seriously and we still got a big game to compete, perform, get some more goals.
“But also just work on what we want to work on and take a good win going into the semis as well.”
The English based defender said that the Football Ferns have experienced a couple of tough moments this year but they are moving into the right direction under the guidance of newly appointed coach Tom Sermanni.
“We have a bumpy year so now it is good to come into a good mindset and we all stack together and I think we are now moving into the right direction, positive direction moving forward for obviously if we qualify to the World Cup next year.
“I think to create the foundation and obviously we want to take the qualifiers out of the way and we then look forward and looking on to the World Cup next year,” Percival added.
In club football, Percival started playing in New Zealand with Lynn-Avon United in 2008 before moving to United American Soccer league team FC Indiana.
She also played with Ottawa Fury in Candana and spent four seasons at Bundesliga team FF USV Jena.
A two years with FC Basel in Switzerland saw the defender switched side to West Ham in England.