Foster leads from the front

New Zealand Women’s U-17 captain Michaela Foster is proudly continuing the family name as she prepares to lead her side out at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Jordan this month.

The left back is the daughter of All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster which could be the reason she conducts herself around a footy pitch so well.

The talented youngster will look to create her own piece of history come September 30 as her side will look to first get past football giants Mexico and record only the second win for an NZ U-17 Women’s side competing at a FIFA World Cup.

Foster said her team’s preparation could not have been better leading up to the tournament. The New Zealand side is fresh from a tour of China where they played world-class teams Japan, Canada and China and that experience has given them the standard they need to perform at to progress in the tournament.

“Our tour to China really helped our preparation,” said Foster. “We were able to experience some high quality football, and it was needed. We were able to realise some our weaknesses we need to work on, which will be very helpful going into the World Cup.”

Foster said the team’s main aim for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Jordan was to progress from their group and make history as the first New Zealand team to do so.

“We’ve been treating all of our warm-up matches as if we were playing at the World Cup, so it’s important for us to get in that mind-set, so we know how to prepare when the tournament starts.”

Foster loves the challenge of leading her team and she knows that if they are going to progress they have to deliver a team effort in all three of their matches.

“It’s not just me helping the girls, we have a really good leadership team within the group so it takes a bit of pressure off me and makes my job easier. It’s important for me to know each girls role in the squad so I can help with team morale, which will give me a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses.”

Head coach Gareth Turnbull said Foster is the perfect fit for the job. He believed her composure and poise will allow her to showcase her leadership skills on a global stage.

“She’s an incredibly intelligent player and with that she can see and read the game quite clearly,” said Turnbull.

“There is a real presence around Michaela, extremely well respected from the playing group and the staff. She has that real aura and mana about her and she is able to get the most out of the players, which is something that’s rare. It’s difficult to showcase those leadership skills at this age but out of anyone in the group she stood out the most.”

Turnbull is optimistic about his side progressing out of the pool and is determined to show the squad he’s chosen will be able to go that extra step this time.

“We are going there to win games, plain and simple,” he said. “It’s about helping develop Football Ferns and the more games we get to experience at this level will assist that cause.”

FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2016 Fact Box
When: September 30 – October 21
Where: Jordan
The Groups:
Group A: Jordan, Spain, Mexico, New Zealand
Group B: Venezuela, Germany, Cameroon, Canada
Group C: Nigeria, Brazil, England, Korea DPR
Group D: USA, Paraguay, Ghana, Japan

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