Western Springs midfielder Margot Ramsay has her sights set on cementing a starting spot in the New Zealand side at the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship in Samoa, which features 10 teams and one ticket to the global finals.
Pulling on the silver fern when the Oceania qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay begin on August 4 will be a first for Ramsay, who grew up alongside a football-mad father and brother.
“My dad and older brother Oscar have always been into football,” Ramsay says.
“From as little as three-years-old, I was going to my dad’s games and kicking a ball around with Oscar. At the age of five, it just made sense for me to sign up to my local club Western Springs and start playing.”
Ramsay credits the duo for her football success to date which has spanned school, club and regional level with the inclusion into Leon Birnie’s national U-16 squad being the latest achievement.
“My brother and my dad have had the biggest influence on my football,” she says.
“If it wasn’t for all the hours I spent kicking a ball with them, either at the park or in the living room, I don’t think I would be playing football, let alone representing my country.”
Nowadays, the 15-year old is kicking a ball with some of the region’s top talent on a regular basis as part of Rico Wilson’s Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier squad at Western Springs.
“It’s been great,” Ramsay says of being in the first-team environment at Western Springs.
“The training is always very intense, fast paced and competitive. All the players are very experienced and I am learning lots as the season goes on.”
With the qualifiers in Samoa on the horizon, Ramsay has set herself individual goals as she takes her first steps into what will hopefully be a long international career.
“My goal for the OFC U-16s is to prove that I deserve my spot in the team and to hopefully cement a starting position but also to enjoy the experience. In the future, I hope to break into the U-20s and one day the Football Ferns,” she says.
“Education is also important to me, so heading to an American university would be a great opportunity if one came along. My brother Oscar is in the States on a college scholarship at the moment and is having an awesome time.”
Ramsay and the New Zealand squad’s road to Uruguay begins on August 5 in the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship against host nation Samoa.
Story courtesy of Auckland Football