Teen makes foot­ball his­tory

Taranaki Daily News - - News - Jane Matthews

When Macken­zie Barry went to kick the ball at her first foot­ball game on the world stage she messed up.

But luck­ily that didn’t stop the Taranaki teenager bring­ing home a bronze medal as part of the his­tory-mak­ing New Zealand Fifa Un­der-17 Women’s World Cup team.

Barry just got back from Uruguay af­ter com­pet­ing at the FIFA World Cup in the first Kiwi foot­ball team to make it to a podium – some­thing she never ex­pected.

The New Ply­mouth Girls’ High School stu­dent got into foot­ball as a young­ster be­cause her friends were play­ing. ‘‘And I just got bet­ter,’’ she said. Now, the 17-year-old has rep­re­sented New Zealand and played six of the seven full games in the Uruguay-based World Cup as the start­ing full­back.

Be­fore this, Barry had been play­ing along­side her school team who were play­ing in the Cen­tral Dis­tricts league.

The Kiwi squad had been do­ing train­ing camps in Auck­land in re­cent months, but their first time on the field to­gether was at the pre-game against Canada just days be­fore the cup kicked off.

When they ar­rived in Uruguay they were told some teams had been train­ing and play­ing to­gether for more than a year and a half.

Ev­ery­thing at that point ter­ri­fied Barry. ‘‘Ev­ery­one was in the same po­si­tion walk­ing out, and hear­ing the na­tional an­them, that was scary,’’ she said.

‘‘The first time I touched the ball I stuffed it up but from then on it was good.’’

Be­cause New Zealand hadn’t done that well in the past, Barry said the team kept be­ing re­minded that the tour­na­ment was ‘‘an ex­pe­ri­ence’’.

‘‘We set the goal of win­ning one game,’’ she said.

But the ex­pec­ta­tions.

Barry’s fa­ther, Chris, was in Uruguay to watch her play and had to re­book his re­turn flight to New Zealand twice as the team kept win­ning games.

‘‘I was meant to be back at work on the 19th,’’ he said. ‘‘But I had to change my tick­ets and ex­tend my leave.’’ team kept ex­ceed­ing

SI­MON O’CON­NOR/STUFF

Macken­zie Barry, 17, was part of the his­to­ry­mak­ing New Zealand Fifa Un­der-17 Women’s World Cup team.

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