As the Football Ferns prepare to take on Australia this weekend, Paige Satchell is living her dream.
The 18-year old has traded her Three Kings United team-mates for the likes of Liverpool FC striker Rosie White and Amber Hearn of USV Jena in Germany as she joined the New Zealand side for the first time for the two friendlies against the Australian Matildas on June 4 and 7.
Satchell’s rise to the national team is not something that has come by luck with the pacey winger opting to relocate to Auckland earlier this year to aid her development.
“Moving to Auckland this year has helped me to develop more as a player, and focus more on trainings and games, as it is easier to balance school work and travel,” said Satchell.
“I was very excited when I found out I would be travelling to Australia with the Ferns. It has been something that I have been working hard towards for a while. I look forward to training and learning from the best.”
— Juan Propato (@propatoTrainer) May 19, 2016
Football Ferns coach Tony Readings said that the new caps Satchell, and Jane Barnett, have earned their places in the national squad after impressing in the local training camps staged in Auckland.
“The girls in Auckland have been training hard and they have had opportunities to press their way in and that just shows in Jane and Paige being picked in this squad,” he said.
Originally from Rotorua and turning out for Ngongotaha AFC until the age of 14, her lightening pace sets her apart and Satchell commends her running and fitness coach of eight years Mark Edmonds for much of her success to date.
“From the beginning he saw potential in me as an athlete and pushed me in the right direction to get the best out of me. It is his commitment and dedication that he has given me over the past eight years that has had the biggest influence on my achievements to date.”
Satchell spends her Sundays turning out for Three Kings in the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League who currently sit unbeaten at the top of the ladder.
Kings’ coach Alan Hindson is obviously very happy with Satchell’s call-up but admits she will be missed while on tour.
“We are extremely pleased for Paige with her selection but we will miss her while she’s away, she brings that x-factor to our attack with her work rate and lightening pace,” said Hindson. “We wish her all the very best and a safe return.”
Upon her return, Satchell has her sights set on training hard to press for a place in the Ferns Olympic squad as well as the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup which will be held in Papua New Guinea later this year.
“My short term and long term goals for the future are working hard in the Ferns environment towards the next tour, as well as the U-20 World Cup. I also know that the Rio Olympics are fast approaching so I am working hard to possibly be selected for this.”
Readings said this tour will be particularly important for finalising his 18 players which will represent New Zealand at the Rio Olympics.
“The players know that they have to fight, and that is great for them because the players constantly need to be pushed and tested,” said Readings.
“Once you have got that depth in the squad you get pushed to new levels. That is what the best teams in the world have and we are starting to get that now.”
The Football Ferns games against Australia on June 4 (Ballarat) and June 7 (Melbourne) will be shown live on SKY Sport.
Australian Matildas v Football Ferns Coverage on SKY SPORT
Game 1: Saturday June 4 in Ballarat, 5pm LIVE SKY Sport 1 (Highlights June 4, 9:30pm SKY Sport 4)
Game 2: Tuesday June 7 in Melbourne, 7pm LIVE SKY Sport 1 (Highlights June 7, 10:30pm SKY Sport 2)
Credit: Thanks to Steph Trowill (Auckland Football Federation) for her work on this story.