Coach Leon Birnie: Players ready for tonight’s opener at U-17 Women’s World Cup

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Head coach Leon Birnie says he wants the New Zealand team “to hit the ground running” against Chile in Tuesday’s opening game at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India.

Birnie, who has been coaching young women for 10 years, says the progress has been such that players who missed out on selection this year would have made previous teams.

“I’m really happy and excited with the 21 (players) we’ve chosen,” he says.

Tuesday’s game against Chile will be broadcast live on Sky Sport at 11.45pm (NZT) and will be repeated on Wednesday.

Birnie: ‘Players’ goal is to get out of their group’


Chile v New Zealand
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Margao
Tuesday October 11, 11.45pm (NZT)

New Zealand v Nigeria
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Margao
Friday October 14, 11.45pm (NZT)

Germany v New Zealand
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Margao
Monday October 17, 11.45pm (NZT)

The squad

(club, home federation, school)

Aimee Danieli; Auckland United FC; NRF; Epsom Girls Grammar School
Alexis Cook; Northern Rovers FC ; NRF; Westlake Girls High School
Charlotte Eagle; Melville United AFC; WaiBoP; Hamilton Girls High
Charlotte Mortlock; Cashmere Technical; Mainland; Burnside High School
Ella McMillan; Phoenix Academy; Capital; AUT
Ella McCann; FC Nelson; Mainland; Waimea College
Emily (Milly) Clegg; Auckland United FC; NRF; Mount Albert Grammar
Helena Errington; Western Suburbs; Capital; Wellington Girls College
Kiara Bercelli; Alamein FC; Mainland; Te Kura
Lara Smith; Wellington United; Capital; Wellington Girls College
Lara Colpi; Western Springs AFC; NRF; Epsom Girls Grammar School
Madeleine Iro; Cashmere Technical; Mainland; Christchurch Girls High School
Manaia Elliott; Melville United AFC; WaiBoP; St Peters Cambridge
Marie Green; Ellerslie AFC; NRF; Baradene College
Megan Simpson; Nomads United AFC; Mainland; St Andrews College
Olivia Ingham; Phoenix Academy; Capital; Onslow College
Olivia Page; Eastern Suburbs AFC; NRF; Baradene College
Rebekah Trewhitt; PN Marist FC; Central; St Peters College PN
Ruby Nathan; Auckland United FC; NRF; Baradene College
Suya Hearing; Northern Rovers FC; NRF; Rangitoto College
Zoe Benson; Eastern Suburbs AFC; NRF; Macleans College

About the tournament

The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup takes place from October 11-30 in India .

The Young Football Ferns were nominated to be Oceania Football Confederation’s representatives at this World Cup after the Oceania qualifiers could not take place due to the effects of the COVID pandemic.

In 2018, the Young Football Ferns created history when they were the first New Zealand national team to bring home a medal at a FIFA event, when they won the bronze medal at the U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay.

The Young Football Ferns games will be broadcast on Sky Sport NZ.


Group A

India, United States, Morocco, Brazil

Group B

Germany, Nigeria, Chile, New Zealand

Group C

Spain, Columbia, Mexico, China

Group D

Japan, Tanzania, Canada, France

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