It took New Zealand striker Kelli Brown less than a minute to make a statement by scoring her and her side’s opening goal at the OFC U-19 Women’s Championship against Samoa.
Following her blistering start, Brown has carried on to amass a remarkable 11-goal haul in that same match before adding another four in her second outing against Tahiti to take her tally to 15 strikes just from two matches.
And despite rested by coach Gemma Lewis for the Kiwis’ third Group A match against American Samoa, she remains firm favourite for the competition’s Golden Boot award.
Yet the humble New Zealand starlet keeps her feet firmly on the ground, playing down her prolific goalscoring form by crediting her teammates instead.
“A lot of them are just follow ups, just following up on all the other girls’ work so I can’t claim all of them for sure, it’s a team effort and to be able to put them away for the team is awesome,” she insisted.
“It’s awesome to be out on the pitch and with such a great bunch of girls and to be able to experience playing for the fern and all that sort of thing, it’s an awesome feeling,” added New Zealand’s leading striker.
Brown, who started to play football at the age of four comes from a sporting family, but not from one with a lot of roundball experience.
“We’re more of a rugby or a touch team family, but it’s a sporting family so we love any type of sports,” she explained.
“I actually started playing as my Aunty was the coach of my cousin team and she was like, oh come down and have a kick around and I was only 4, so I didn’t really know what was going on and then from then I started playing for my local school and just carried on,” she added.
Fastforward to 2019, Brown has her eyes fixed on helping New Zealand to another Oceania crown and their ticket to next year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
“Yeah, that’s the idea, obviously playing the football that we can to put a couple away would be awesome but first we just need to play our game and see what we can achieve,” said the young New Zealand representative.
And as far as the future goes, the 18-year old is hoping to play football at the top level and earn her stripes for her country.
“I’d love to become a professional, just playing football everyday, that would be a dream come true and even to become a Football Fern, to get all the way to the top of our New Zealand team, that would be an awesome feeling,” Brown said.