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