Legendary Football Fern Annalie Longo has rejoined the national side to play internationals against Norway and Wales in the June fixture window.
Longo (30), who will likely play her 125th international for New Zealand on the trip, is one of 24 players named by head coach Jitka Klimková.
For Longo, it’s her first inclusion in a national squad since last year’s Tokyo Olympics, as she was not part of the squad that competed in the SheBelieves Cup tournament in the United States.
Main photo: Longo … made her Ferns debut in November 2006.
Four new players included in squad
Among the squad are four new faces:
Ally Green steps up after being part of the squad’s April training camp in Australia. Born in Sydney, she’s a former Australian age-group international who has chosen to represent the birth country of her mother.
Klimková told the NZ Football website: “This is another huge moment for her. She took the time to come to her decision to represent New Zealand, and we’re so pleased that she’s made this choice.”
Kate Taylor, who captained the Junior Football Ferns to victory over the Young Matildas (and scored the winner from the penalty spot) in Sunday’s under-20s international friendly, is selected after an impressive A-League season with the Wellington Phoenix.
“Kate is a player we’ve been watching since the A-League Women’s season began,” says Klimková.
“For such a young player to be such a valuable member of her team is incredibly exciting. She has a lot of potential and we’re delighted to see her in the senior Ferns environment.”
Wellington Phoenix teammate Mackenzie Barry is also included.
“Mackenzie is another player we’ve watched closely, and it’s been really pleasing to see her progression during the A-League season, in particular her improvement on the ball. Mackenzie, like Kate Taylor, could become a key player in the future.”
Klimková: ‘An opportunity to test ourselves against some of the best in the world’
Klimková sees the Norway (ranked 11th by FIFA) and Wales (31st) as good tests for the Ferns as the side builds towards the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup next year.
“Taking on two very different sides in the same window give us the chance to test ourselves in the way we will be tested at the World Cup, with the short time in between games replicating what we will encounter in July 2023.
“Norway historically is a very strong team, and has world-class players, and Wales are also a very tough side to beat, so this is another opportunity to test ourselves against some of the best in the world.”
Ford Football Ferns squad
Lily Alfeld; A-League Off Season Programme, NZ (0/0)
Elizabeth Anton; A-League Off Season Programme, NZ (8/0)
Mackenzie Barry; A-League Off Season Programme, NZ (0/0)*
Katie Bowen; North Carolina Courage, USA (82/3)
Claudia Bunge; Melbourne Victory FC, Australia (9/0)
Olivia Chance; Celtic FC, Scotland (30/1)
Daisy Cleverley; HB Køge, Denmark (21/2)
Victoria Esson; Unattached (6/0)
Ally Green; Vålerenga, Norway (0/0)*
Jacqui Hand; Åland United, Finland (6/1)
Betsy Hassett; Stjarnan, Iceland (130/14)
Grace Jale; Heidelberg United FC, Australia (6/2)
Annalie Longo; Christchurch United, NZ (124/15)
Meikayla Moore; Unattached (53/3)
Erin Nayler; Umeå IK, Sweden (77/0)
Gabi Rennie; Arizona State University, USA (12/2)
Ali Riley; Angel City FC, USA (145/1)
Emma Rolston; Avaldsnes IL, Norway (11/6)
Paige Satchell; Unattached (28/2)
Malia Steinmetz; Unattached (7/0)
Rebekah Stott; FC Bulleen Lions, Australia (85/4)
Kate Taylor; A-League Off Season Programme, NZ (0/0)*
Ashleigh Ward; Actonians LFC, England (2/0)
Hannah Wilkinson; Melbourne City FC, Australia (105/27)
* First Ford Football Ferns call up
Head coach: Jitka Klimková.
Assistant coaches: Natalie Lawrence (women’s U-20s assistant coach) and Michael Mayne (women’s U-17s assistant coach).
Norway v New Zealand
Ullevaal Stadium, Oslo, Norway
Sunday June 26 (3am NZT)
Wales v New Zealand
Pinatar Arena, Pinatar, Spain
Wednesday June 29 (5am NZT)