Longo focuses on Canterbury
Football Fern Annalie Longo clocked up 100 caps for her country just last month, but says the milestone was never something she set out to achieve when she began her international football career.
The central midfielder has been a senior member of the Football Ferns for a while now, and will bring experience to the Canterbury United Pride this season as they look to defend their title in the National Women’s Football League.
The 26-year-old debuted for the Football Ferns in 2006 and has been a solid starter ever since, but she doesn’t believe 100 matches wearing the fern is anything to overly celebrate and credits the players and coaches around her for her success.
‘‘I guess when I first began to play, I just wanted to play for my country. It [100 caps] is not something I thought I would achieve or not something I am particular excited about, you just get on with it.’’
Longo wanted to talk more about the series loss to the USA than on her personal accolade and said the team were happy with their performance, despite losing 5-0 and 3-1.
‘‘I think it was a young side in a building phase. Lots of new players trying new things.’’
Longo said the Football Ferns were pleased with the results against the USA because the squad had made a lot of adjustments off the field and the future was looking bright.
‘‘We have made improvements off the field around ... building culture. A culture that is direct and full of leaders, this is not something we have had in the past.’’
She has no plans of hanging up the boots. Her next goal is to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, and complete the next circuit with the team.
‘‘That’s the plan. I amjust going to take it year by year, work hard and lift my standards. I will keep playing as long as I’m performing.’’
Canterbury United Pride are not short of experience with five Football Ferns donning the red and black strip to defend the title, starting this weekend against WaiBop in Christchurch.
New Zealand internationals, goalkeeper Victoria Esson, defender Meikayla Moore and striker Aimee Phillips, who all reside in Auckland as part of the Football Ferns development programme, are confirmed in the Pride squad.
‘‘It is nice to come back down here to grassroots level and to be inspiring kids. Unfortunately, the young players don’t get to see all that many Football Ferns,’’ Longo said.
New Zealand’s Annalie Longo will bring professionalism to the Canterbury Pride as they look to defend their title.