Thu, Oct 14, 2021 12:52 PM

Nelson star makes Football Ferns

Amelia Abbott, with her U17 World Cup Bronze medal. Photo: Jonty Dine

Jonty Dine

Nelson’s Amelia Abbott’s Football Ferns dream has been realised.

The 20-year-old was named in the squad to take on Olympic champions Canada later this month.

Ameila is currently playing for the University of Texas and prior to her departure, spoke of her desire to represent the top side in New Zealand.

“At the moment, I’m taking everything as it comes. If I got the opportunity in the future to be a Football Fern, that would be awesome, otherwise I’m just looking forward to starting my new footballing journey in America and seeing where being a student athlete can take me.”

Coach Jitka Klimková named six new caps alongside Amelia, Aniela Jensen, Ava Collins, Jacqui Hand, Sam Tawharu and Tahlia Herman-Watt.

Amelia was a member of the young Football Ferns side that won bronze at the 2018 FIFA U17 Women's World Cup start to stake a claim to the senior Football Ferns shirt.

The midfielder scored one of the goals of the tournament during the 1-1, quarterfinal tie against Japan.

Due to MIQ considerations, players based in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia were unavailable for selection for this tour.

While the global situation has therefore posed some challenges for selecting her first Football Ferns squad, head coach Jitka Klimková isn’t fazed.

“This is the start of our preparations for 2023 where we want to be broadening our player base and looking at who could be in the frame for our home World Cup.”

Jitka says while she couldn’t select some players due to quarantine requirements on their return to New Zealand and Australia, this has opened up opportunities for others.

“I’m really pleased to be able to give more players the chance to come into the Ferns environment and see if they’re ready to make that step up into senior international football.”

She says she is pleased to be starting to integrate more players from that campaign into the squad.

“Whether you have one cap or a hundred caps, this is an opportunity for these young players to start to come in and test themselves against the older players. Being in this camp, preparing to play and playing against the Olympic champions will challenge these players.”

Game dates vs Canada

24 October, 8:00 am (NZT), Ottawa, Ontario (TD Place)

27 October, 12.30 pm (NZT), Montreal, Quebec (Stade Saputo)