Football Ferns coach Tony Readings says retiring vice-captain Katie Duncan (nee Hoyle) will be remembered as one of the all-time greats of New Zealand Football.
The 29-year-old midfielder, who played 119 A Internationals for the Football Ferns, has decided to hang up her boots after almost 10 years of playing for New Zealand.
Duncan, who played professionally for Bad Neuenahr, Melbourne Victory, Notts County and FC Zürich, represented her country in three Olympic Games and three FIFA World Cup events and was always one of the first names down on Readings’ team sheet.
“Anyone who knows about the Football Ferns will know that she has played a massive part in the past 10 years of our team,” said Readings. “She helped take the Ferns from being a team that didn’t really compete on the world stage and being a part-time programme into a more professional programme and being able to compete with some of the best teams in the world. There has been a core of players responsible for that and Katie was one of those.”
Duncan is one of six Football Ferns who have been the mainstay of the squad for the past 10 years and raised 100 caps for their country. Skipper Ali Riley (109), former captain Abby Erceg (131), Amber Hearn (120), Ria Percival (124) and Kirsty Yallop (102) have been the core of the squad and have helped transform the national team.
Duncan made her debut Football Ferns debut on 14 November 2006 in the 3-0 loss to China and her final game at the highest level was the 3-0 loss to France which saw the Ferns bow out of the Rio Olympics. She scored her first and only senior international goal in a 10–0 win over Cook Islands at the Oceania Women’s Nations Cup in 2010.
“I’ve had a long and rewarding football career and I’m hugely grateful to the teammates and coaching staff I’ve had over the years for making it such an amazing journey,” she said. “I’ve decided to retire at this time because I am ready to move on to other things in life.”
Duncan said it was hard to narrow down specific highlights from her international football career, but representing New Zealand at the FIFA World Cups and Olympics have been special moments.
“Also playing at clubs around the world, experiencing different cultures, and the friendships made along the way is what I value most,” she said. “With the Football Ferns in particular, I’ve been so fortunate to play with many outstanding teammates who have helped me become a better player and person. I will continue to cheer on the team and wish them every success in the future.”
Readings said Duncan led by example on the pitch and she will not be an easy player to replace.
The biggest compliment we can give Katie is to talk about her training mentality and approach. No matter what the level of opposition or whether it be training or playing international matches, she always gave it 100 percent. That attitude helped take her from being a good player to being a great player for the Football Ferns. She set the standard for other players in the group as well. She showed the younger girls in the group how you need to train so she helped others and it also helped her own performance.”
Readings said Duncan’s legacy will live on in the Football Ferns environment as they look to build towards the 2019 FIFA World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“What she has done now is leave a bit of a legacy that this group of girls can hopefully go on and build from. Hopefully the girls that we have picked for the USA squad have the ambition to go and match what Katie has achieved and in 10 years’ time maybe they can surpass that so the Football Ferns can have an even stronger standing on the world stage. She has played a big part and helped set up the Ferns to go on and achieve greater things.”
Katie Duncan (nee Hoyle) – Career by the numbers
131 – Total Appearance for New Zealand
119 – A Internationals for New Zealand
1 – Goal v Cook Islands at the Oceania Women’s Nations Cup in 2010
3 – FIFA World Cups (2007, 2011, 2015)
3 – Olympic Games (2008, 2012, 2016)
4 – Professional clubs (Bad Neuenahr, Melbourne Victory, Notts County, FC Zürich)
2 – FIFA U-20 World Cups (2006, 2008)