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World Cup heartache still motivates Kiwis

Readings was an assistant coach and analyst to John Herdman in Chile where only an injury-time equaliser from powerhouses England denied the Junior Ferns a groundbreaking place in the quarterfinals.
His first squad as head coach includes no fewer than 10 players from the 2008 squad and Readings believes that most will not lack for motivation when tackling American Samoa, Cook Islands and Tonga at North Harbour Stadium between October 5-9 for a place in Germany next November.
“I’m hoping it will be motivation for the players as it definitely is for the members of the coaching staff who were there as well,” Readings said.
“It should spark a little bit more desire and players will work a little bit harder knowing we were so close.”
“Every squad needs to improve performance and preparation but we know we need to do more because we almost made it through last time.”
The squad also features 14 graduates from the 2008 FIFA U-17 World Cup in New Zealand, including star 16-year-old striker Rosie White who scored hat tricks at both U-17 and U-20 World Cups that year.
Seven players have made their full Football Ferns debut and Readings will have the luxury of calling on two more – injured American-based duo Merissa Smith and Betsy Hassett – should the side successfully navigate the qualifiers.
Another veteran of Chile, goalkeeper Charlotte Wood, is unavailable due to University commitments in the USA and would also come into contention if the team are crowned Oceania champions.
But despite the squad’s collective experience earning the tag of favourites heading into the tournament, Readings says nothing will be taken for granted.
“There’s never been complacency in the past with OFC events and from the way the players have been training there is plenty of focus now.
“The players collectively have plenty of World Cups under their belt already and we’re going to be doing our very best to make sure these girls get to another finals tournament and amass some more experience.”
Auckland’s Three Kings United is the best represented club with five players selected while this weekend’s Women’s Knockout Cup finalists Lynn Avon and Claudelands Rovers have six players between them.
Alongside the OFC Championship, New Zealand Football will be running football festivals for girls aged 6-12. Members of the Football Ferns are currently touring Auckland schools promoting the event.
Young Football Ferns Squad for OFC U-20 Women’s Championship
Auckland, 5-9 October
(one player to be added)
Victoria ESSON (Fencibles United)
Megan SHEA (Woolston Technical)
Bridgette ARMSTRONG (Glenfield Rovers)
Anna GREEN (Three Kings United)
Briony FISHER (Lynn Avon United)
Elizabeth MILNE (Lynn Avon United)
Jessica ROLLINGS (Glenfield Rovers)
Chelsey WOOD (Eastern Suburbs)
Caitlin CAMPBELL (Lynn Avon United)
Emily COOPER (Lynn Avon United)
Claudia CRASBORN (Napier City Rovers)
Annalie LONGO (Three Kings United)
Lauren MATHIS (Glenfield Rovers)
Nadia PEARL (Three Kings United)
Katherine ROBINSON (Claudelands Rovers)
Hannah WALL (Waterside Karori)
Sarah MCLAUGHLIN (Claudelands Rovers)
Lauren MURRAY (Three Kings United)
Rosie WHITE (Three Kings United)
Head Coach: Tony Readings
Assistant Coaches: Ali Grant and Paul Temple
Manager: Kristy Hill
OFC U-20 Women’s Championship Schedule (New Zealand)
North Harbour
October 5, 1:30pm
New Zealand v American Samoa
October 7, 4pm
New Zealand v Cook Islands
October 9, 4pm
New Zealand v Tonga

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