Footballers in strong form
The Young Football Ferns are in the midst of making history.
The team is currently competing at the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica and will play next on March 23 against Japan.
They kicked off the tournament with a 1-1 draw with Paraguay on March 16.
It was the first time New Zealand has scored a point at the tournament in six years.
After a scoreless first half at the Ricardo Saprissa Ayma Stadium, Auckland Football player Daisy Cleverley got past two players in the 69th minute to break the deadlock with a fierce drive.
Paraguay pulled level with just six minutes to go.
The Young Ferns team includes Three Kings United midfielder Isabella Richards and Metro FC forward Jade Parris.
The Mt Albert Grammar School youngster scored the team’s only goal against China in an NTC Invitational Tournament in February.
The team had their final training and shirt presentation at Ellerslie AFC at Michaels Avenue Reserve last week.
Coach Jitka Klimkova says the team is keyed up and ready to make an impact on the field during the competition.
The biggest challenge was always going to be adjusting to the different football styles in the tournament, she says.
‘‘Having Paraguay, Spain and Japan in our group means we are facing different styles of football than we usually experience and we have to be able to adapt,’’ she says.
‘‘We realise how much quicker we have to play at international level and when we are defending we have to be compact, together and aggressive.’’
High hopes: Mt Albert youngster Jade Parris is currently competing for the Young Football Ferns.