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Black Sticks Women veteran Child retires

Sam Charlton Black Sticks Women hockey
Sam Charlton played 277 matches for the Black Sticks Women over 14 years. PHOTO: DAVE LINTOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

The Black Sticks Women's final match at the FIH Nations Cup also marked the end of the line for veteran Sam Child.

Child (nee Charlton) announced her decision to retire from international hockey on the eve of New Zealand's 2-1 loss to Chile in the playoff for third at the Women's FIH Nations Cup on Sunday (Monday NZ Time).


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Making her debut against Australia as a teen in 2010, Child ended her career with 277 caps, putting her third on the BSW all-time caps list and cementing her legacy as one of the all-time greats.


Eddy, as she is affectionately known, has been the engine room of the BSW for much of her career, with her skills as an effective communicator helping her become a world-class master of defensive and counter control.


In her career, Child represented New Zealand at three Olympic Games; London, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo, and was part of the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning side and 2014 bronze medal-winning side.


On her decision to retire, Child said: “it was difficult, this team has given lots to my life over the last 14 years and I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like I have given enough back.

 “And I think that's what kind of drove me to play a couple more games [after the Olympic Qualifiers]. I really wanted to be a part of helping the team drive forward after such a big loss that we had earlier in the year.


“I've been really privileged to have so many highlights along the way. One of my most memorable would have to be winning gold in the Gold Coast. But also definitely the Olympic Games where we came fourth, both in London and Rio.


“I’m also incredibly grateful for all the people who have helped me on my journey, from all the great coaches and management to my friends and family who I wouldn’t have been able to do this without.

"In particular I’d like to thank everyone in the Black Sticks for their support in my transition back into hockey after having my twins.”

 Former teammate Rose Keddell holds Child up as one of the greatest players to put on the black singlet.

“To represent your country once is amazing, to do it for over 14 years and almost 300 times is legendary.


“Sam is quite honestly the most dedicated, inspiring, hardworking athlete I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing alongside. She is an inspirational leader injecting professionalism into everything she does.


“For me personally, she was the player and person I looked up to in the team. You knew you’d be on the right path if you followed in her footsteps and I’m forever grateful to Sam for leading the way. A truly incredible player and friend who ends her career as one of the greats.”

 Looking ahead to the future, Child said she was ready for more family time.

“Sometimes I feel like I could just play for this team forever. But now feels like the right time for me and my body, but most importantly, my family.


“They've dropped everything for me to be here and look after my twin boys at home. So I'm really excited to spend some really quality time with my boys away from the hockey turf.”


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