Golden Boot winner among five new faces in Ferns squad to face United States

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Five new faces — including National League Golden Boot winner Tayla O’Brien — have been named in the Football Ferns squad to play two friendlies against the world champion United States.

Ferns head coach Jitka Klimková has named a 26-player squad to face the US team in Wellington (January 18) and in Auckland (January 21).

First-time Ferns call-ups are inaugural National League Championship winning duo Tayla O’Brien and Deven Jackson from Eastern Suburbs, Canterbury United Pride captain Rebecca Lake.

Main photo: Golden Boot winner Tayla O’Brien (left) has been given her chance by Ferns coach Jitka Klimková.Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Grace Neville, previously a Football Ferns training player, and goalkeeper Murphy Sheaff, who played all three group games in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2022, becomes the latest Junior Football Fern to make the step up to the senior side.

Wellington Phoenix midfielder Grace Wisnewski is selected for the squad for the second time but is yet to make her on-pitch debut, as she was forced to withdraw from the Korea Republic series due to injury. Her Phoenix skipper, goalkeeper Lily Alfeld, is also waiting her first appearance, despite past selections to the national squad.

The Phoenix have released six players to the Ferns, despite the matches falling outside of the FIFA international window.

“We can look at it with pride that we have that many players represented in the Ferns,” Phoenix coach Natalie Lawrence said.

“Quite a few of the players are on the fringe of the Ferns or on the fringe of getting more minutes so for them it’s a huge opportunity to show Jitka (Klimková)…playing against the best team in the world what they can do and really put their hands up for the world cup.

The Phoenix have agreed with the Ferns coaching staff that Hassett, the country’s fourth most capped footballer, will only be available for the first match against the U.S.A before resuming her club commitments.

The other five Nix players called up will be able to play both matches, but with restricted minutes.

“We’ve managed to work really closely with Jitka to ensure a really good load management plan so players are pretty much available for both of our games that clash.

Ferns squad

Ford Football Ferns squad for US series (name; club or college/country; caps/goals)

Lily Alfeld; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ (0/0)

Elizabeth Anton; Perth Glory, Australia (15/0)

Mackenzie Barry; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ (3/0)

Hannah Blake; University of Michigan, USA (6/0)

Olivia Chance; Celtic FC, Scotland (37/2)

Daisy Cleverley; HB Køge, Denmark (24/2)

Ava Collins; St John’s University, USA (7/0)

Anna Green; Sydney FC, Australia (80/8)

Ally Green; Vålerenga, Norway (2/0)

Jacqui Hand; Åland United, Finland (10/1)

Betsy Hassett; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ (137/14)^

Deven Jackson; Eastern Suburbs AFC, NZ (0/0)*

Grace Jale; Canberra United, Australia (10/2)

Aniela Jensen; University of the Pacific, USA (0/0)

Rebecca Lake; Canterbury United Pride, NZ (0/0)*

Erin Nayler; IFK Norrköping, Sweden (78/0)

Grace Neville; London City Lionesses, England (0/0)*^

Tayla O’Brien; Eastern Suburbs AFC, NZ (0/0)*

Jana Radosavljevic; DSC Arminia Bielefeld, Germany (3/0)

Gabi Rennie; Arizona State University, USA (18/2)

Ali Riley; Angel City FC, USA (147/2)

Emma Rolston; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ (14/6)

Paige Satchell; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ (35/2)

Murphy Sheaff; Jacksonville University, USA (0/0)*

Ashleigh Ward; Southampton FC, England (2/0)

Grace Wisnewski; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ (0/0)

* Debut squad
^ Available only for the 18 January game

United States squad

The US have named a 24-player squad to visit New Zealand.

READ MORE: World champions name squad to play Football Ferns in two-game series >>>>

Fixtures

Game to be played on Wednesday January 18, 2023

New Zealand v United States
Sky Stadium, Wellington, 4pm (NZT)

Game to be played on Saturday January 21, 2023

New Zealand v United States
Eden Park, Auckland, 4pm (NZT)

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