Football Ferns captain Ali Riley predicts this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup will be the most successful women’s sporting event ever.
Speaking to the FIFPRO site, the 35-year-old Angel City player said:
“It’s a big honour that it will be hosted in Australia and New Zealand.
“I think we’re at a point now where this has to be the best tournament ever – and the fans, the engagement, the media, will be at another level.
“We saw successful numbers in France, and I think the game has come a long way since then. It’ll be a huge milestone and it’ll be a great springboard to make even more changes in future.”
Riley, who will make her fifth appearance at the World Cup if selected for the Ferns, says the tournament will inspire young girls in New Zealand.
“It’ll motivate and empower to have diverse representation; to have players who will be making comments on not just soccer, but on social justice issues, human rights issues.
“I think it will inspire the next generation and really grow the game. We need that in New Zealand and, especially as a Kiwi, we want more players, more girls to start playing.
“But more importantly, we want little girls to dream that they can do anything.”