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Junior Ferns named for Brazil tour

A Junior Football Ferns side filled with international experience from above and below ramp up their preparation next week ahead of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in August with a two-match tour of Brazil.

18-cap Football Fern Katie Bowen will lead the NZ U-20 side in Brazil next week. Photo by Photosport.

The 18-player squad for the trip was named on Sunday with coach Aaron McFarland calling on players who have represented New Zealand recently at both senior and U-17 levels.

A total of eight players have seen playing time for the senior Football Ferns side with the most recent members of Tony Readings team; Katie Bowen, CJ Bott, Megan Lee, Meikayla Moore, Evie Millynn and Martine Puketapu filling six of the nine substitute spaces for the New Zealand team in the recent 2-1 loss to world number three Japan in Osaka.

Meanwhile, McFarland’s squad includes three players; Puketapu, Daisy Cleverley and Isabella Coombes, who were key members of the Young Football Ferns side which competed at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica in March.

The team also includes Australian-based 19-year-old Jessie Wharepouri, with the Adelaide United fullback included in a national representative side for the first time.

The pathway flowing into the U-20 team also includes the coaching and management staff with McFarland serving as assistant coach to Readings with the Football Ferns while U-20 assistant coach Jitka Klimkova guided the U-17 side in Costa Rica.

Football Ferns sports scientist Harriet Steele is also making the trip. McFarland says the international mileage already logged by the likes of Bowen, Moore, Lee and company will serve the team and the individuals well in Brazil.

“You’ll see how those players show a maturity on the field where they are able to express themselves fully and be composed under the pressure of an international,” said McFarland.

“Having had some of their experiences on the international stage, they should be able to step into this environment against the Brazil Under-20s and perform at their best.”

The Brazil trip serves as a key part of the Junior Football Ferns preparation ahead of age-group World Cup in Canada in August where New Zealand has been drawn in Group D with France, Paraguay and Costa Rica.

McFarland says the matches against one of the world strongest teams – who will compete in Group B in Canada against Germany, China and the United States - will serve as an ideal lead-in for the New Zealand side for several reasons.

“Firstly, we get two games against a first class opposition played in very hot conditions.

“And because of the nature of the teams in our pool – specifically Paraguay and Costa Rica, we expect them to play a similar style to Brazil - so it should be good preparation because it will reflect the nature of the games we’ll play in the World Cup a lot more closely.”

The first match of the tour is on Thursday 29 May at 6am (NZ time).

Junior Football Ferns squad – Brazil tour
May, 2014

Goalkeepers
Lily Alfeld (Forrest Hill Milford Utd AFC)
Corina Brown (Lynn-Avon Utd AFC)

Defenders
Catherine Bott (Forrest Hill Milford Utd AFC)
Emily Jensen (Forrest Hill Milford Utd AFC)
Megan Lee (Louisiana State University, USA)
Meikayla Moore (Coastal Spirit FC)
Megan Robertson (Eastern Suburbs AFC)
Jessie Wharepouri (Adelaide Utd, AUS)

Midfielders
Katie Bowen (capt, University of North Carolina, USA)
Daisy Cleverley (Forrest Hill Milford Utd AFC)
Isabella Coombes (Claudelands Rovers)
Evie Millynn (San Diego State University, USA)

Forwards
Briar Palmer (Forrest Hill Milford Utd AFC)
Holly Patterson (Dartmouth University, USA)
Jasmine Pereira (Three Kings Utd)
Martine Puketapu (Three Kings Utd)
Emma Rolston (Forrest Hill Milford Utd AFC)
Stephanie Skilton (Syracuse University, USA)

Management staff
Coach: Aaron McFarland
Assistant coach: Jitka Klimkova
Manager: Angelina Lee-Hussein
Physio: Catherine Porteous
Sports Scientist: Harriet Steele

Match schedule

Game 1
Brazil U-20 v Junior Football Ferns
Estadio Municipal General Sylvio Raulino de Oliveria, Rio de Janeiro
Wednesday 28 May, 3pm (Thursday 29 May, 6am NZ time)

Game 2
Brazil U-20 v Junior Football Ferns
Estadio Municipal General Sylvio Raulino de Oliveria, Rio de Janeiro 
Friday 30 May, 3pm (Saturday 31 May, 6am NZ time)

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