Four Nix in Football Ferns’ World Cup squad

The Wellington Phoenix are proud four 2022-23 Nix players have been named in the Football Ferns’ squad for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Betsy Hassett, Paige Satchell, Michaela Foster and Milly Clegg have secured selection in New Zealand’s final 23 after an arduous nine-week training camp. Kate Taylor has also been named a training partner for the tournament.

Hassett, Satchell, Foster and Clegg all joined the Phoenix for the 2022-23 Liberty A-League and forced their way into the World Cup squad through their performances for club and country.

Hassett, 143 caps, and Satchell, 42 caps, arrived in Wellington as established Football Ferns, while Foster and Clegg have experienced a meteoric rise in the past eight months.

Foster went from a scholarship signing to winning the club’s player of the year award, after starting all 18 of the Phoenix’s matches during the A-League season and turning heads with her ability to take set pieces with both feet.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – FEBRUARY 26: Michaela Foster of the Phoenix greets fans during the round 15 A-League Women’s match between Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC at North Harbour Stadium, on February 26, 2023, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Dave Rowland/Getty Images)

Her performances for the Nix caught the eye of national coach Jitka Klimková, who named the playmaking fullback as a training partner for the Ferns matches against Portugal and Argentina in February.

She impressed in two substitute appearances against Argentina and started both of New Zealand’s most recent internationals against Iceland and Nigeria in April.

Clegg has been selected for her third global FIFA tournament in 12 months, having played and scored goals for New Zealand at the U-20 and U-17 World Cups last year.

The forward joined the Phoenix on an amateur contract days after her 17th birthday and finished as the team’s golden boot.

Her goalscoring exploits led to calls for Clegg to be named in the Football Ferns and she was eventually called up for their matches against Iceland and Nigeria, coming off the bench late in both matches.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – JANUARY 22: Milly Clegg of the Phoenix in action during the round 11 A-League Women’s match between Wellington Phoenix and Canberra United at Sky Stadium, on January 22, 2023, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Veteran midfielder Hassett and pacey forward Satchell have been regulars for the Ferns since Klimková took charge in 2021 and both featured in 15 of the Phoenix’s 18 matches during the 2022-23 A-League.

Hassett started all 15 matches she appeared in and scored a double in the Nix’s memorable 5-0 win over Canberra United in January.

Heart surgery on the eve of the season hindered the start of Satchell’s campaign, but she finished strongly and scored her maiden goal for the club in the penultimate round.

Taylor has made eight appearances for the Football Ferns and the young defender is one of three training partners for the tournament.

Fellow Phoenix foundation players Mackenzie Barry, Grace Wisnewski and Brianna Edwards, and experienced forward Emma Rolston have unfortunately missed out on selection having also taken part in the gruelling two month training camp in Auckland.

The Football Ferns will play Vietnam in Napier on Monday, July 10 in the team’s last public outing before kicking off the FIFA Women’s World Cup 10 days later against Norway at Eden Park.

The Wellington Phoenix congratulate all of the players on their selection and encourage the New Zealand public to get behind the Football Ferns.