Fleet-footed forward Katie Rood has plenty on her plate at the moment in juggling a dual role at the Northern Football Federation with her playing commitments for both Glenfield Rovers and as part of the ground-breaking Football Ferns Development Programme (FFDP).
But, despite her current workload on and off the pitch, she had time to write herself into the records books recently by becoming the highest-ever scorer in the history of the Women’s Knockout Cup.
Rood brought up the milestone in style by bagging a five-goal haul as Glenfield Rovers accounted for Ellerslie 12-0 in the second round and was delighted to have done so. The 24-year-old admits she was not even aware the record was in sight until it was broken though and, had it not been for the promptings of women’s football aficionado Jeremy Ruane, might still be oblivious to the fact.
— Jeremy Ruane (@Scousek1w1) June 5, 2017
“It was pretty cool but I didn’t actually know until Jeremy posted about it on Twitter,” she explains. “It was epic, there are a lot of good contenders out there so to be right at the top of them all is quite a humbling feeling.”
AFF/NFF Conference side Ellerslie could do little to stop the onslaught from their Lotto NRFL Premier League opponents and Rood caused most of the carnage as she sped past the Knockout Cup tallies of Sarah McLaughlin and Rebecca Tegg, whom she had both previously been tied with on 31 strikes.
While proud to have earned such an honour, Rood feels her goals will count for little if Glenfield fail in their attempts to earn back a trophy the club has enjoyed a close relationship with in recent seasons. Rovers have been involved in all bar one of the past six finals and won three of them.
However, their hopes of earning a consecutive three-peat of cups were ended in thrilling fashion last year as local rivals Forrest Hill Milford United eventually emerged triumphant on penalties after a 2-2 draw at North Harbour Stadium. The painful memories of that defeat are very much being used as a motivational tool by the Rovers players as they continue their current campaign on Sunday away to Western Springs.
“We’re thinking of redemption for sure,” she says.
“Western Springs are a good side and beat Eastern Suburbs last week so they’ll be coming off a win. I’m sure they’ll want to do some damage over us but hopefully we can stick it to them.”
Rood will come up against a familiar face with former Glenfield star Rebecca O’Neill now leading the line for Springs. The former defender has reinvented herself in recent times as a prolific striker and, having played alongside her in the early days of that transformation, Rood knows how dangerous she can be.
“She’s strong, physical and will get the ball down and want to play,” Rood says of her ex-team mate. “She finished her last year at Glenfield as a striker and set me up for quite a few goals, she plays that role really well.”
In addition to Rood, Glenfield will also be able to call on the services of their other FFDP player, five-cap Liz Milne, while Springs will have access to New Zealand U-20 internationals Sarah Morton and Elizabeth Anton.
Rood is relishing being part of the FFDP, an initiative put in place by New Zealand Football to help bridge the gap between the domestic game and the international level. As part of the programme, the FFDP group compete in a male 17th-grade league and train four times a week, as well as being made available for their clubs whenever possible.
“The amount of football we get to play in is great. It’s a big load but learning to manage that is part of what we need to do if we want to become professional footballers,” Rood says.
“It’s interesting because we’ve all trained together before but, in the past, it’s just been in an individually competitive environment. Now we have to come together as a team and I think that’s been a learning curve for everybody.”
Adapting to regularly coming up against the opposite gender has also been a challenge.
“The pace is the biggest difference, they’re definitely a lot faster. But if you can’t use your pace to get round them you have to unlock them in another way which gives you a different problem to solve.”
The primary aim of the FFDP is to support the production of professional players and Rood is fully intending to be one of them.
“Ideally, I’d love to get over to the W-League in Australia or a professional environment somewhere else where I can just focus on the game and reach my potential,” she says. “I just want to get as good as I can really.”
Women’s Knockout Cup Round 3
(all games Sunday 25 June)
Forrest Hill Milford United vs Central United, 1pm, Becroft Park
Claudelands Rovers vs Three Kings United, 1pm, Galloway Park
Eastern Suburbs vs Norwest United, 1pm, Madills Farm
Western Springs vs Glenfield Rovers, 2.45pm, Seddon Fields
(both games Saturday 24 June)
Seatoun vs Palmerston North Marist, 12.30pm, Seatoun Park
Upper Hutt City vs Wairarapa United, 3pm, Maidstone Park
(both games Saturday 24 June)
Dunedin Technical vs Roslyn Wakari, 11am, Tahuna Park
Coastal Spirit vs Cashmere Technical, 12.30pm, Cuthberts Green