Young foot­baller puts in the hours

El­iz­a­beth An­ton is mak­ing the most of her win­ter days. The young Lynn Avon foot­baller talks with Ju­lian Raethel about her busy sched­ule onand-off the pitch.

Auckland City Harbour News - - SPORT -

Among the long hours of train­ing and matches, El­iz­a­beth An­ton is try­ing to find time to tune into the Fifa World Cup.

But it’s go­ing to be a busy few weeks for the New Zealand Un­der-17s player.

‘‘I don’t re­ally know who I want to see win, Brazil or Ar­gentina I guess,’’ she says.

‘‘But I re­ally like my sleep too, so watch­ing games might be hard.’’

While jug­gling school and a bud­ding football ca­reer, the Lynn Avon United de­fender/ cen­tre mid­fielder says football is all she’s ever known since start­ing at Western Springs AFC dur­ing in­ter­me­di­ate school.

El­iz­a­beth moved fur­ther west to Lynn Avon two years ago which has pro­vided a good plat­form for younger fe­male play­ers.

‘‘I was 13 and I joined the boys team with two other girls. They would ac­tu­ally pass the ball to us which was good.’’

Things have ac­cel­er­ated since then. El­iz­a­beth now owns 10 pairs of football boots, just to keep up with the hours she puts in.

The 15-year-old has earned eight caps with the Ju­nior Football Ferns and is the youngest player in the squad.

She played in the Fifa Un­der-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica ear­lier this year, where New Zealand grabbed a sole point from their draw with Paraguay dur­ing pool play.

‘‘It was re­ally cool play­ing in a dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ment.

‘‘I saw a lot of poverty but play­ing football there was def­i­nitely a high­light.’’

El­iz­a­beth is also in the wider na­tional Un­der-20s train­ing squad. She has played once for the team dur­ing the Ocea­nia qual­i­fiers ear­lier this year.

‘‘Just to be able to train with them al­lows me to learn more about game tac­tics and how they re­late to your po­si­tion on the field,’’ she says.

Photo: JU­LIAN RAETHEL

Kick­ing on: El­iz­a­beth An­ton is prov­ing age doesn’t mat­ter on the football field.

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