EIGHT Liberty A-League stars named in Football Ferns’ squad for Chile friendlies

There are eight Liberty A-League-based players in New Zealand’s squad to face Chile in a pair of international friendlies later this month.

The Football Ferns’ 24-player squad is headlined by Melbourne City star Hannah Wilkinson, who made history at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, for two fixtures against Chile in Santiago on September 24 and September 27.

She scored the nation’s first-ever goal at the World Cup, the match-winner against Norway as co-hosts the Football Ferns claimed a maiden World Cup victory – men’s or women’s – in the tournament opener.

Hannah Wilkinson celebrates scoring at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

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City team-mate Rebekah Stott is also in the squad as are Wellington Phoenix quartet Brianna Edwards, Michaele Foster, Kate Taylor and Grace Wisnewski, Perth Glory recruit Grace Jale and Western Sydney Wanderers forward Milly Clegg.

Edwards was not part of the World Cup squad as the Football Ferns narrowly missed out on the knockout round, while Phoenix duo Taylor and Wisnewski have been recalled as full squad members after they were training partners for the showpiece event.

“The most important thing for the team now is continuing the momentum from the FIFA Women’s World Cup and building on the progress we made as we look forward to Olympic qualifiers next year,” said head coach Jitka Klimkova. 

“These games will give us a great opportunity to test ourselves against a South American opposition, one of the confederations we haven’t faced that much so far. 

“It is great to welcome back five players who weren’t part of the squad for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“We have strong competition for places across the pitch which is what we want heading into the next cycle.”

Football Ferns squad:

Goalkeepers: Brianna Edwards (Wellington Phoenix), Victoria Esson (Rangers), Anna Leat (Aston Villa)

Defenders: CJ Bott (Leicester City), Katie Bowen (Inter), Claudia Bunge (HB Koge), Michaela Foster (Wellington Phoenix), Ally Green (AGF), Grace Neville (London City Lionesses), Ali Riley (Angel City), Rebekah Stott (Melbourne City), Kate Taylor (Wellington Phoenix)

Midfielders: Olivia Chance (unattached), Betsy Hassett (Stjarnan), Annalie Longo (unattached), Malia Steinmetz (FC Nordsjaelland), Grace Wisnewski (Wellington Phoenix)

Forwards: Milly Clegg (Western Sydney Wanderers), Jacqui Hand (Aland United), Grace Jale (Perth Glory), Gabi Rennie (Arizona State University), Indiah-Paige Riley (PSV), Paige Satchell (London City Lionesses), Hannah Wilkinson (Melbourne City)