Forty-one players to take part in Ferns’ training programme ahead of World Cup

Football Ferns head coach Jitka Klimková has named 41 players to participate in the pre-FIFA Women’s World Cup training programme.

Players will join the programme as they become available between early May and July.

  • 26 players will take part in May, of whom 17 are already in Auckland.
  • 11 join the programme in June.
  • 4 more will take part in July.

The group includes midfielder Annalie Longo (who has not played since suffering a serious knee injury last September), Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper Lily Alfeld (who missed the entire A-League season through injury) and Phoenix midfielder Chloe Knott (who is not eligible to play for New Zealand).

READ MORE: Ferns midfielder Annalie Longo forced to withdraw from squad after knee injury >>>>

Annalie Longo … long rehabilitation after serious knee injury. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

The initial group includes forward Maggie Jenkins (21), currently playing for University of Central Florida, who has not featured for the Ferns since making her debut in 2017.

“The training group will be made up of players who have featured for the Ford Football Ferns recently, as well as a number of members who will initially join as training partners, when available, for at least the first month,” NZ Football explained in a statement.

The final World Cup squad of 23 players will be chosen at the completion of the training programme.

The players who are already training

NZ Football have confirmed the following 17 players joined the training camp in Auckland this week:

Alyssa Whinham (Wellington Phoenix)
Deven Jackson (Eastern Suburbs)
Emma Rolston (Wellington Phoenix)
Grace Jale (Canberra United)
Grace Wisnewski (Wellington Phoenix)
Hannah Blake (Perth Glory)
Indiah-Paige Riley (Brisbane Roar)
Kate Taylor (Wellington Phoenix)
Liz Anton (Perth Glory)
Mackenzie Barry (Wellington Phoenix)
Maggie Jenkins (UCF Knights, Florida)
Malia Steinmetz (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Michaela Foster (Wellington Phoenix)
Milly Clegg (Wellington Phoenix)
Murphy Sheaff (Jacksonville Dolphins)
Paige Satchell (Wellington Phoenix)

Wellington Phoenix midfielder Knott is training with the group, though she is not yet eligible to represent New Zealand.

Nine more to join in May

Nine more to come into the programme during May include former U-20 international Aniela Jensen, who has yet to play for the Ferns:

Aniela Jensen (University of the Pacific, United States)
Annalie Longo (unattached)
Ava Collins (St John’s University, United States)
Brianna Edwards (Wellington Phoenix)
Claudia Bunge (Melbourne Victory)
Gabi Rennie (Arizona State University, United States)
Hannah Wilkinson (Melbourne City)
Katie Bowen (Melbourne City)
Lily Alfeld (Wellington Phoenix)

Eleven players who will participate in June

Set to join the programme during June are 11 players:

Ally Green (AGF, Denmark)
Anna Leat (Aston Villa, England)
Ashleigh Ward (Southampton, England)
CJ Bott (Leicester City, England)
Daisy Cleverley (HB Køge, Denmark)
Grace Neville (London City Lionesses, England)
Olivia Chance (Celtic, Scotland)
Meikayla Moore (Glasgow City, Scotland)
Rebekah Stott (Brighton & Hove Albion, England)
Ria Percival (Tottenham Hotspur, England)
Victoria Esson (Rangers, Scotland)

Ferns captain Ali Riley … will join the programme in July.

Four more coming in July

Three more will join the group when released by their clubs in July:

Ali Riley (Angel City, United States)
Erin Nayler (IFK Norrköping, Sweden)
Jacqui Hand (Aland United, Finland)

Wellington Phoenix midfielder Betsy Hassett, who is recovering from broken ribs, expects to take part in July.

READ MORE: Betsy Hassett joins injured list as coach Jitka Klimková reflects on Nigeria loss >>>>

Programme to include games against boys’ teams

The training programme will run till the team goes into the formal training camp for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, with players training every day from Monday – Friday.

The programme includes a series of intra-squad games and matches against boys’ teams which NZ Football says will replicate the side’s Group A opponents, Norway, the Philippines and Switzerland.

The training group will be made up of players who have featured for the Ford Football Ferns recently as well as a number of members who will initially join as training partners, when available, for at least the first month.

Jitka Klimková … ‘I can’t wait to be on the grass.’ Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Klimková: ‘The door is very much still open’

Ford Football Ferns head coach Jitka Klimková sees the programme as critical for developing the team ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup:

“Training and implementing new ideas at international level is always challenging because of the short amount of time we have together as a squad during international windows, especially for the Ferns when travel takes a significant amount of time for most games.

“This is why this two-month period together can be so significant for the team to really look to instil the playing style and performance level we want if we are going to play at the level I know we can.

“We will be working with 37 players in May and June and I want to stress that everyone has a chance to make our final roster, the door is very much still open.

“From a personal level, I can’t wait to be on the grass with the players every day and for all of us to put in the work to perform in front of our home fans this July.”

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