Academy quartet named in NZ U-17 World Cup squad

Four players from the Wellington Phoenix women’s academy programme have been named in the Young Football Ferns squad for next month’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India.

Ella McMillan, Lara Smith, Olivia Ingham and Rebekah Trewhitt have secured selection in the final 21-strong New Zealand squad named by coach Leon Birnie.

McMillan and Ingham are fulltime members of the Phoenix academy, while Smith and Trewhitt join the women’s programme two nights a week from their clubs Wellington United and Palmerston North Marist respectively.

All four are part of the academy’s women’s development group, which is made up of Football Ferns, and under-20 and under-17 internationals.

They are coached by academy technical director Paul Temple.

On top of the women’s development group, the academy has an under-16 women’s team which played in the boys’ 15th grade competition in Wellington this year.

In 2023 the academy plans to have a full women’s pathway on offer for aspiring players. 

The Young Football Ferns have been drawn in Group B, where they will take on Chile Nigeria and Germany.