February 24, 2012
AUCKLAND – Former New Zealand cricket wicketkeeper Rebecca Rolls has been included in a 20 strong Football Ferns squad for the Cyprus Cup, 16 years after collecting the last of her 11 caps as an international football goalkeeper.
The 36 year old, who won 107 caps in a 10 year career for the White Ferns including 104 One Day Internationals, has been included as back up for Jenny Bindon in the 12 nation event as coach Tony Readings looks to find the right mix of goal keepers from a group that has Erin Naylor and new Liverpool signing Aroon Clansey waiting in the wings.
Rolls, who played for the Football Ferns between 1994 and 1996, is one of three changes to the squad that was narrowly beaten 2-1 by Olympic Champions USA in Texas by with two goals in the last four minutes. She replaces Naylor while Katie Bowen and Emma Kete, who both missed the USA tour through injury, are additions.
The squad is building towards the London Olympics – New Zealand’s final two qualifiers are in March and April – but for Rolls, who has been to three cricket World Cups including a wining campaign on home soil in 2000, the focus is first about proving something to herself.
“The Olympics is a big part of the campaign going forward but it’s not the main reason for me,” Rolls said.
“I reached a point where I got far too curious to know if I could still play and what level that was at. I watched the FIFA Women’s World Cup and was impressed by the team’s commitment and culture, and thought if I don’t try now I’ll never know.
“I just want to add anything I can to the campaign whether that travelling on tours or as part of the training squad. Football’s always been my favourite sport so it’s great to get the opportunity to be involved again.”
New Zealand faces Northern Ireland, Korea Republic and South Africa in Group C of the Cyprus Cup beginning next Tuesday and coach Tony Readings is keen to claim some scalps after going agonisingly close against the USA.
“South Africa have already qualified so it’ll be great to test ourselves against Olympic opposition while on paper, Korea will be the toughest team in our group and Northern Ireland are an unknown threat,” Readings said.
“We had a good tour of the States and its important now to maintain momentum and keep learning and improving ahead of the Olympic qualifiers in late March.”
Football Ferns squad for Cyprus Cup
(Club – caps/goals in brackets)
Jenny BINDON (Hibiscus Coast – 61/0)
Rebecca ROLLS (Metro – 11/0)
Abbey ERCEG (Adelaide United, AUS – 63/4)
Anna GREEN (Lokomotive Leipzig, AUS – 42/5)
Kristy HILL (Three Kings United – 17/0)
Holly PATTERSON (Claudelands Rovers – 0/0)
Ria PERCIVAL (FFC Frankfurt, GER – 60/7)
Ali RILEY (Unattached – 53/1)
Rebecca SMITH (captain, VfL Wolfsburg, GER – 59/3)
Katie BOWEN (Glenfield Rovers – 6/0)
Betsy HASSETT (Univ. California Berkeley, USA – 28/3)
Katie HOYLE (Bad Neuenahr, GER – 52/1)
Annalie LONGO (Three Kings United – 33/0)
Hayley MOORWOOD (Chelsea, ENG – 70/7)
Kirsty YALLOP (Vittsjo, SWE – 51/11)
Sarah GREGORIUS (Bad Neuenahr, GER – 18/9)
Amber HEARN (USV Jena, GER – 50/23)
Emma KETE (Canberra United – 42/3)
Rosie WHITE (UCLA, USA – 31/7)
Hannah WILKINSON (Glenfield Rovers – 25/10)
Tony READINGS – Head Coach
Gordon FORREST – Assistant Coach
Julie HOGG – Manager
Jen SAYER – Physiotherapist
Brad CONZA – Sports Scientist
Gary CONNELL – Technical Analyst
Dave SELF – Goalkeeper Coach
2012 Cyprus Cup
Group A: England, Finland, France, Switzerland
Group B: Canada, Netherlands, Italy, Scotland
Group C: New Zealand, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Korea Republic
New Zealand v Northern Ireland
5.30pm (4.30am Feb 29 NZT)
New Zealand v South Africa
Cyprus 5.30pm (4.30am Mar 3 NZT)
New Zealand v Korea Republic
2.30pm (1.30am Mar 5 NZT)
Cyprus Cup finals day
Olympic Games – OFC Qualification Playoff (home and away)
New Zealand v TBD
New Zealand v TBD