Lyric Davison earned her first call up for the Cook Islands when she was just a wide-eyed 13-year-old finding her place in the world of international football.
Davison was part of the Cook Islands U-17 squad which made their age-group debut on home soil during last year’s OFC U-17 Women’s Championship and she said it was an interesting experience.
“I was in the first Cook Islands team and I was a bench warmer for most of the tournament except for 20 minutes,” she said.
“That made me sad because I really wanted to play. But I could also understand because I was so young playing in an U-17 tournament.”
Davison is the only New Zealand-based Cook Islander in the squad that makes up this year’s U-16 Cook Islands team and she said that initial experience over 18 months ago has had a big impact on how she’s approached the competition this time around.
“I was very grateful to be in that team last year,” she said.
“But now I am so much more energetic and happy in this team and I really think that’s because I’m actually the right age this time.
It’s a wise-way of looking at the situation for a 15-year-old, and Davison applies the same measured approach to her football.
“Coming from New Zealand where I play for Ellerslie in Auckland, I know that my club’s approach is more tactical or strategic style of football,” she said.
“Which I think this Cook Islands team does touch on.
“However some of the other islands maybe kick the ball a lot without much thought for tactics or strategy maybe – as we do too.
“But they’re all still really good, no doubt.”
Growing up in New Zealand Davison had options when it came to who she represented, and holds no regrets about opting for the Cook Islands.
“My grandad is half Tahitian, half Cook Islands and it passed down so I’m just a quarter Cook Islands.
“But I’m still proud, and I’m lucky. I’m so lucky to be part of it and to have this experience.
“I just love this team, and I love playing for my country.”
Davison and the Cook Islands U-16 women’s team play New Zealand in the semi-finals of the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship today at 5pm (WST)