Nine Nix named in Junior Football Ferns

There is a strong Wellington Phoenix presence in the New Zealand squad named for the upcoming OFC U-19 Women’s Championship in Fiji, which doubles as the qualifying tournament for the 2024 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

Half of the 18-strong selected by head coach Leon Birnie are Phoenix players.

Fullback Zoe McMeeken headlines the nine Nix players. McMeeken, who made seven appearances during the 2022-23 A-League season, is endeavouring to attend a second FIFA U-20 World Cup, having been part of the Junior Football Ferns squad in Costa Rica last year.

Goalkeeper Aimee Danieli, defenders Manaia Elliott, Marie Green, Ella McMillan and Rebekah Trewhitt, midfielder Helena Errington and striker Ella McCann have stepped up an age-group after being part of Birnie’s squad at the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India.

Goalkeeper Charlotte Eagle has also forced her way into the Junior Football Ferns after attending the team’s training camp in Auckland in April.

All nine Phoenix players are currently playing for the women’s reserves in the men’s U-17 Capital development league.

New Zealand have been drawn in group B at the OFC U-19 Women’s Championship alongside hosts Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

The Junior Football Ferns will play Fiji in their opening match in Suva on Thursday, June 22, with their second group game against Papua New Guinea to follow on Sunday, June 25.