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Football Ferns - White eyes special milestone

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Rosie White cannot wait to join the Football Ferns 100 club.

The striker, who will bring up the milestone if she is selected for the international friendly against the World No 1 USA on Thursday (Friday NZT), made her debut as a 15-year-old in 2009 and 10 years later is getting ready for her third FIFA Women’s World Cup.

"It is a definitely is a special club and a tight club of players," said White from St Louis. "It will be a pretty big moment after playing a lot of long years for the Ferns. It is crazy to think and reflect on the whole journey we have been on together. The girls who are in that 100 caps club, a lot of them are still here and racking up the games for New Zealand. It is amazing to play alongside some of those people for every single game.

"It is a massive milestone and I am pretty excited about it. It is an amazing game [against the USA] and time to bring up 100 caps if that happens."

White will become the eighth player to play 100 or more A internationals for New Zealand following in the footsteps of Ria Percival (139 caps), Abby Erceg (135), Amber Hearn (125), Ali Riley (123),

Katie Duncan (122), Annalie Longo (113) and Betsy Hassett (111).

Fellow forward Sarah Gregorius, who has played 91 A Internationals for New Zealand herself, described her room-mate for this tour as "Mrs Reliable".

"You know just what you are going to get with Rosie," said Gregorius. "She’s secure on the ball, she leads the press from the front, and she’s dynamic and strong. It is incredible to think that a player who had so much success at a young age that she has never fizzled out. She has got better and better and these days she understands her game that much more."

The 25-year-old White, who has scored 24 goals for New Zealand in her career, made headlines as a youngster in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. White achieved a unique double by scoring a hat-trick against Colombia in the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in New Zealand and a second against Chile in the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup two weeks later.

"That U-17 World Cup in New Zealand was really special," she said. "It was a great way to start my international career with a bang. I think back to that game in Wellington - where we were the first team from New Zealand to ever win at a World Cup - and we celebrated like we won the World Cup. That remains one of my favourite footballing memories, it set up for me what it means to play for New Zealand."

White said the step up into full international football was a big one. She made her senior debut against China, where the Ferns went down 6-0.

"That seems like a different world ago," she said. "I was just so stoked to be there at 15-years old, looking at that team and the mentality back then, it is a completely different story. We have come so far since those times when we were hanging on to games and be credible."

White said the 3-1 win over Cameroon to advance to the knockout stages of the 2012 London Olympics remains a career highlight and she hopes there is more to come from the team this summer in France.

"We have had some moments of victory and I think that moment of getting out of our group in London was a small taste of what is possible. We are still waiting for that big moment. We have been close so many times and we are hanging on and hoping that we can do something special as a group. There is real belief that we can."

White scored the winner against Norway last month - it was the first time the Ferns had beaten a higher ranked opposition in four years since they beat Brazil 1-0 away from home in 2015. She said all of her international goals are special but highlighted one in particular.

"When I came on against Brazil at home [Auckland, 2014 in a 1-1 draw] and scored, that was one of my favourite goals for the Ferns, but honestly I haven’t scored a goal in a big event with the full team at a World Cup so that would be the best thing I could imagine."

The USA and New Zealand have met 16 times in their history, with the World No 1 having won 14, drawn one and lost just once to the Ferns.

The Ferns play the Netherlands, Canada and Cameroon at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France next month.

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