Former Football Fern Emma Humphries is on her way to a FIFA Women’s World Cup but this time, she won’t be wearing the New Zealand national strip.
Wellington-born Humphries (35) is the coach of the Canadian team that has qualified for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup to be held in India from October 11-30, 2022.
Canada is one of only six countries to have qualified for every U-17 tournament to be held.
Humphries, who played a dozen games for the Football Ferns between 2006 and 2008, is married to Bev Priestman, an English-born coach who worked for NZ Football from 2009 to 2013 and is now coach of the Canada women’s team that won gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
CBC Sports writer John Molinaro reports that the couple have a hectic time juggling their respective coaching roles as well as bringing up their four-year-old son, Jack.
“It’s been crazy in our house. We’ve been like two ships passing in the night. She (Priestman) was busy with Canada’s recent games, and I think we saw each other for a day before I came out here (to the U-17 training camp).
“But it’s what we love doing. We have high standards as a family when it comes to football.
“On a day-to-day basis, luckily, we don’t work together … I don’t think I would have taken the job had she been my boss,” Humphries said with a laugh.
So far, there’s been no suggestion of adding Humphries to Priestman’s coaching staff for the senior team.
“We feel quite strongly that as much as possible we have to build our own careers. It’s nice to be aligned (under Canada Soccer), but to be in each other’s space for 24 hours, I mean, what would we talk about when we go home?
“We don’t have any interest in working together.”
The couple follow strict rules about talking shop at home.
“We try not to talk too much football at home because it would drive us insane. Bev is much better than me — when she switches off, that’s it. If we’re at home and I try to have a football conversation with her, she says no,” Humphries said.
“The work-home balance can be pretty crazy. As long as you’re passionate about what you’re doing, and you switch off at the right times, you can make it work.”
Under-17 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Sixteen teams will contest the U-17 tournament. Countries to have qualified so far include India (as hosts), the United States, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Germany Brazil, Chile, China PR, Colombia, Japan and New Zealand. France or the Netherlands will take the last European spot.
The tournament draw will be held in Zurich on June 24 which, coincidentally, is Humphries’ 36th birthday.
What better birthday present than if Canada drew the same group as New Zealand …
Photo credits: Images of Emma Humphris courtesy of Canada Soccer.