March 29, 2012
AUCKLAND – Maia Jackman is hanging up her boots after a 19 year career as a Football Fern, officially retiring from international football with her place among the game’s great servants assured.
Jackman, 36, will be presented with her official New Zealand Football blazer at the home leg of the Football Ferns’ Olympic Qualifier against Papua New Guinea in Whangarei this Saturday and said the decision to call time on a distinguished career was not an easy one.
“It’s been on my mind over the past couple of years and at one stage I was going to go all out for the World Cup and Olympics and end it there, “Jackman said, “but the psychological challenge of being in, being out, took its toll. I had a chat with Ferns coach Tony Readings in terms of where he saw me leading into the Olympic Games. I just thought I don’t know if I have the patience or the will to do it anymore. I guess I just wanted to do something different while I still can, while I am still young enough. I just said to Tony, ‘Yeah, I’m done’.”
Jackman’s 50th cap during World Cup qualifying in October 2010 proved to be her last, coming 17 years after her 1993 debut against Canada in New York and she retires as one of just 13 women to play 50 or more ‘A’ internationals and her longevity at the highest level is borne out by the fact that all but three of those players made their debut after Jackman. Jackman has a host of successes to reflect upon and one stands out above all others.
“Definitely my debut in the match with Canada in ’93 stands out. It was such a huge transition going from Auckland U-19s straight into senior international level – it was a massive eye opener. But the one achievement that stands out was being part of the FIFA World XI in China in 2007. To play with some of the best players in the world, and be recognised as one of them, was pretty humbling,” Jackman said.
Beginning her career as a striker, Jackman’s dozen goals for New Zealand is bettered only by six players and includes a streak of hat tricks in three consecutive matches – a feat yet to be repeated by a Kiwi. Not a bad return for a youngster who got noticed as a 14 year old when tackling Kevin Fallon and being mistaken for a boy. That resulted in an invitation down to Fallon’s school of excellence.
Although Jackman is bowing out of competitive football, she has been offered the opportunity to take a closer look at a potential career in coaching with Football Ferns coach Tony Readings fully supportive. With so many Football Ferns based overseas as full-time professionals, Jackman will continue to train with the squad to add experience.
“She’s been the consummate pro on and off pitch, a natural leader and a great personality to have in the camp. She’s been inspirational to a lot of the younger players that have come through and established themselves now - we’ll be trying to keep her involved in some shape or form as she still has a lot to offer the game,” Readings said.
“Maia is a legend in the women’s game and I don’t use that term lightly. To have a career that spans different eras of the game like she has is phenomenal. And to evolve and adapt her game in that time to be able to compete in the modern game and in different positions is just outstanding,” Readings said.
New Zealand Football plan to honour Jackman’s contribution to the sport by presenting her with her official blazer – a process NZF began last year to honour its past players.
The MVP trophy for the ASB Women’s Knockout Cup final will also be renamed The Maia Jackman trophy in honour of her achievements in that competition – which she won five times as a player– and her overall contribution to women’s football.
Maia Jackman – fact file
Played: 50 (2 as captain)
Debut: August 6, 1993 v Canada (0-0)
Last game: October 6, 2010 v Solomon Islands (8-0). (Was captain for this game, her 50th)
Played: 59 (2 as captain)
FIFA Women’s World Cup China 2007 (played every minute for NZ)
ASB Women’s Knockout Cup Final MVP 2 times (1996, 1998)
Golden Boot – 2003 OFC Women’s World Cup qualifiers
Northern Premier Women's League champions - 7 times (1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2006)
ASB Women’s Knockout Cup winners - 5 times (1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2007)
ASB National Women’s League / National Women's Tournament winners - 9 times (1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009)
• Played professional football in China in Dalian Shide in 2002
• Fifth player to make 50 appearances for the Football Ferns
• Has played top level club football for 21 seasons
• Won the NZ Knockout Cup five times with four different clubs
• Five time finalist for NZ International Player of the Year award
• Scored hat tricks in three consecutive internationals (only Kiwi ever to do so)
• Selected for the FIFA women’s All Stars team in 2007
• Served as a Small Whites ambassador along with Ryan Nelsen.