Milly Clegg earns recall to Ferns squad for two-game series against Japan

Football Ferns head coach Jitka Klimková has named a 24-player squad for the two-match series against FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter-finalists Japan.

The games are scheduled to be played at Estadio Nueva Condomina in Murcia, Spain, on June 1 and June 4, 2024 (NZT).

The squad includes forward Milly Clegg (18) who returns to the side for the first time since her move to NWSL team Racing Louisville FC and after missing both tours in 2024 due to injury.

London City Lionesses’ Grace Neville is also recalled, with uncapped goalkeeper Murphy Sheaff who has transferred colleges to Kansas State University.

Ten players selected (Barry, Clegg, Foster, Fraser, Green, Hand, Kitching, Neville, I Riley and Taylor) were given their debuts by Klimková.

The Ford Football Ferns will look to build on their current seven-match unbeaten run following their win at February’s OFC Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Samoa and the two-game April series against Thailand in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

New Zealand squad


Mackenzie Barry (15 caps) Wellington Phoenix FC, New Zealand
CJ Bott (44 caps) Leicester City, England
Katie Bowen (107 caps) Inter Milan, Italy
Claudia Bunge (30 caps) HB Køge, Denmark
Daisy Cleverley (37 caps) HB Køge, Denmark
Milly Clegg (6 caps) Racing Louisville FC, USA
Victoria Esson (23 caps) Rangers FC, Scotland
Michaela Foster (16 caps) Wellington Phoenix FC, New Zealand
Macey Fraser (5 caps) Utah Royals, USA
Ally Green (12 caps) AGF, Denmark
Jacqui Hand (25 caps) Lewes FC, England
Grace Jale (29 caps) Unattached
Katie Kitching (8 caps) Sunderland AFC, England
Anna Leat (16 caps) Aston Villa FC, England
Meikayla Moore (64 caps) Glasgow City FC, Scotland
Grace Neville (8 caps) London City Lionesses, England
Gabi Rennie (35 caps) Åland United, Finland
Ali Riley (161 caps) Angel City FC, USA
Indiah-Paige Riley (23 caps) PSV Vrouwen, Netherlands
Murphy Sheaff (0 caps) Kansas State University, USA
Malia Steinmetz (29 caps) FC Nordsjælland, Denmark
Rebekah Stott (101 caps) Melbourne City FC, Australia
Kate Taylor (15 caps) Unattached
Hannah Wilkinson (124 caps) Melbourne City FC, Australia

Coach Klimková says the games against high calibre opposition — Japan are #7 in the FIFA world rankings — will help the Ferns prepare for July’s Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

“With the Paris Olympics just over two months away, where we know we will be facing some of the top teams in the world, it is important to challenge ourselves against a side like Japan so we can be as prepared as possible for our games in late July,” she said.

“The squad represents the blend we are looking to establish, with some exciting young talent who have potential to lift the Ferns for the next decade, alongside experienced players who know what it is like to perform at major tournaments such as the Olympic Games.

“It is particularly exciting to have Milly Clegg back in the side after injury and her move to America, now one of three NWSL players alongside Ali Riley and Utah Royals recruit Macey Fraser.

“In Christchurch, we showed the attacking potential we have, so I look forward to meeting up with the team in Spain to continue that momentum and build consistency.”

Both games are available to watch live and free in Aotearoa New Zealand on FIFA+.

Friendly fixtures

Game to be played on Saturday June 1, 2024 (NZT)

New Zealand v Japan
Estadio Nueva Condomina, Murcia, Spain, 2am (NZT)

Game to be played on Tuesday June 4, 2024 (NZT)

New Zealand v Japan
Estadio Nueva Condomina, Murcia, Spain, 2am (NZT)

Olympic fixtures

Games to be played on Friday July 26, 2024 (NZT)

Canada v New Zealand
Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne, 3am (NZT)

France v Colombia
Stade de Lyon, Décines-Charpieu, 7am (NZT)

Games to be played on Monday July 29, 2024 (NZT)

New Zealand v Colombia
Stade de Lyon, Décines-Charpieu, 3am (NZT)

France v Canada
Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne, 7am (NZT)

Games to be played on Thursday August 1, 2024 (NZT)

New Zealand v France
Stade de Lyon, Décines-Charpieu, 7am (NZT)

Colombia v Canada
Stade de Nice, Nice, 7am (NZT)

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