New Ferns midfielder Katie Kitching keen to build on promising start

Midfielder Katie Kitching has returned to her English club, Sunderland, buoyed by the experience of making her international debut for New Zealand in the two-match series against Colombia.

Kitching (25) played in both games in Bogatá, becoming Football Fern #205 and staking her claim for inclusion in next year’s Olympic Games qualifiers squad.

England-born Kitching is eligible for the Ferns through her New Zealand-born mother.

“I was really proud,” Kitching says. “My mum cried. Every time I mentioned something about it, she had tears in her eyes!”

Kitching told the Sunderland AFC website:

“It was amazing (her New Zealand debut). In the first game, there was lots of fans there, they were really loud and I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like that. I think there were like 17,000 fans or something.”

Main photo: Katie Kitching makes her first appearance for New Zealand. Photo credit: NZ Football.

In the second match, Kitching was introduced to the game earlier than expected, replacing Malia Steinmetz after 20 minutes when her teammate was struggling with the effects of playing at altitude.

“To come on so early it was a bit surprising, and it took me a while to get into it but it was really good. I think I eventually found a good rhythm,” she said.

“We were unfortunate not to get a good result but I think we had a good performance and have something to continue building on.”

Kitching said she now aims to become a regular for the Ferns.

“I think just hopefully getting another call-up is the first step and trying not to think too far into the future.

“I think my goal is to be a consistent player but right now I’m focusing on the next step first.”

New Zealand drew the first game 0-0 with Colombia, and lost the second match 1-0.

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