Football Ferns Olympic squad missing some familiar faces

Ten Football Ferns players will make their Olympic debut in Paris later this month, but the squad is missing a couple of familiar faces.

Striker Hannah Wilkinson, who has been to the three previous Olympic Games, has been left out of the 18-player squad.

Midfielder Annalie Longo, who played at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, is also missing, along with Betsy Hassett.

Wilkinson, Longo and Hassett have 416 caps between them.

That leaves Ali Riley (162) and Rebekah Stott (102) as the only players in the squad with more than 100 caps.

The team will be coach by Michael Mayne after Jitka Klimková stood down last month.

“With this tournament having smaller squads than something like the FIFA Women’s World Cup we have had to make some tough decisions, but through our selection process, we have selected 18 players we believe can achieve the outcomes we want and are prepared for the challenges we will face,” Mayne said.

“It is great to be able to give over half the squad their Olympic debuts, and I know it will be a proud moment for all of the players and staff to wear the fern in France.

“There is no doubt this can be a special event for us, and we will draw on the uniqueness of representing the entire New Zealand Olympic team to give us the edge we will need.”

Aotearoa New Zealand go into the tournament with a record of six wins, two defeats and one draw in 2024, scoring 37 goals and conceding eight.

At Paris 2024, they have been drawn in Group A alongside reigning champions Canada, Colombia, and hosts France.

They kick-off the tournament on 26 July (NZT) vs Canada in Saint-Etienne, before facing Colombia on 29 July (NZT), and France on 1 August (NZT), both in Lyon.

The team will warm-up for the tournament with an international friendly against Zambia on 14 July (NZT) at Stade Louis Darragon, Vichy, France, with the game broadcast live and free on FIFA+.

MIchael Mayne, head coach of New Zealand.

The full squad is:

Mackenzie Barry* (16 caps) Wellington Phoenix FC, New Zealand

CJ Bott (46 caps) Leicester City, England

Katie Bowen (109 caps) Inter Milan, Italy

Milly Clegg* (8 caps) Racing Louisville FC, USA

Victoria Esson (23 caps) Rangers FC, Scotland

Macey Fraser* (5 caps) Utah Royals, USA

Ally Green* (14 caps) AGF, Denmark

Jacqui Hand* (27 caps) Unattached

Grace Jale* (31 caps) Unattached

Katie Kitching* (10 caps) Sunderland AFC, England

Anna Leat (18 caps) Aston Villa FC, England

Meikayla Moore (65 caps) Unattached

Gabi Rennie (37 caps) Åland United, Finland

Ali Riley (162 caps) Angel City FC, USA

Indiah-Paige Riley* (24 caps) PSV Vrouwen, Netherlands

Malia Steinmetz* (31 caps) FC Nordsjælland, Denmark

Rebekah Stott (102 caps) Melbourne City FC, Australia

Kate Taylor* (16 caps) Unattached

*First time being involved in an Olympic campaign

In addition, Claudia Bunge (HB Koge, Denmark), Michaela Foster (Unattached), Annalie Longo (Wellington Phoenix FC, New Zealand), and Murphy Sheaff (Kansas State University, USA) have been named as travelling reserves.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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