The OFC event is the qualifying tournament for the Women’s Under-17 World Cup and if the team secures a spot in India, the same squad will likely make up the bulk for the World Cup squad.
At Christchurch United, Samantha held her own in the boys’ leagues but this year opted to switch to Cashmere Technical to be able to play with the best women’s players in the region.
Christchurch United president Slava Meyn says that even though Samantha is now wearing Cashmere colours, the whole club will be proud that one of their former team-mates may next year appear at World Cup and says.
“We want to congratulate Samantha for this amazing achievement. She worked very hard for this and deserves her selection,” says the club president who has a soft spot for the young lady who has been part of the Yaldhurst academy system for many years.
“Samantha has been with us ever since we set up the Christchurch Football Academy, before we merged with Christchurch United, so wherever she ends up we will always consider her one of our own,” says Slava.
Samantha’s father Glen Senior credits all the coaches and her team-mate at the academy for getting Samantha to the level she is now. “I’ve been in touch with Slava because much of Sam’s success is own to the time she spent at United and in the boys’ teams,” says Glen who still keeps in touch with other parents at United.
Samantha’s selection does not entirely come as a surprise as she was also part of a New Zealand squad that played a four-team tournament in China in July and performed outstandingly well, finishing second after beating Thailand and Chile, and only losing to host China.
Samantha is fortunate to be coached by Leon Birnie who led the New Zealand U17 team to an historic bronze medal at the last U17 World Cup, so Samantha and her team-mates will have big boots to fill.