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Football Ferns named for Japan series

Updated: May 23

Football Ferns name 24-player squad to face Japan
Milly Clegg has been named in the Football Ferns squad to face Japan. PHOTO: DAVE LINTOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

Football Ferns head coach Jitka Klimková has named a strong 24-player squad for the international friendlies against seventh ranked nation, Japan.

The games will be played Saturday 1 June NZT (Friday 31 May local) and Tuesday 4 June NZT (Monday 3 June local) at Estadio Nueva Condomina in Murcia, Spain. 


The squad features 18-year-old forward Milly Clegg return to the side for the first time since her move to NWSL team Racing Louisville FC and after missing both tours so far in 2024 due to injury. 

London City Lionesses’ Grace Neville is also recalled, along with uncapped goalkeeper Murphy Sheaff who recently transferred colleges to Kansas State University.10 of the players selected (Barry, Clegg, Foster, Fraser, Green, Hand, Kitching, Neville, I Riley and Taylor) were given their debuts by Klimková.

The Football Ferns will be looking to build on their unbeaten run following February’s OFC Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Samoa and the two-game April series against Thailand in Christchurch. 

Coach Klimková is happy to see her side test themselves against a high calibre opposition as the team finalise preparations for July’s Paris 2024 Summer Olympics:

“With the Paris Olympics just over two months away, where we know we will be facing some of the top teams in the world, it is important to challenge ourselves against a side like Japan so we can be as prepared as possible for our games in late July. 

“The squad represents the blend we are looking to establish, with some exciting young talent who have potential to lift the Ferns for the next decade, alongside experienced players who know what it is like to perform at major tournaments such as the Olympic Games.

“It is particularly exciting to have Milly Clegg back in the side after injury and her move to America, now one of three NWSL players alongside Ali Riley and Utah Royals recruit Macey Fraser

.“In Christchurch we showed the attacking potential we have so I look forward to meeting up with the team in Spain to continue that momentum and build consistency.” 

Both games are available to watch live and free in New Zealand on FIFA+.


Mackenzie Barry (15 caps) Wellington Phoenix FC, New Zealand CJ Bott (44 caps) Leicester City, England Katie Bowen (107 caps) Inter Milan, Italy Claudia Bunge (30 caps) HB Køge, Denmark Daisy Cleverley (37 caps) HB Køge, Denmark Milly Clegg (6 caps) Racing Louisville FC, USA Victoria Esson (23 caps) Rangers FC, Scotland Michaela Foster (16 caps) Wellington Phoenix FC, New Zealand Macey Fraser (5 caps) Utah Royals, USA Ally Green (12 caps) AGF, Denmark Jacqui Hand (25 caps) Lewes FC, England Grace Jale (29 caps) Unattached Katie Kitching (8 caps) Sunderland AFC, England Anna Leat (16 caps) Aston Villa FC, England Meikayla Moore (64 caps) Glasgow City FC, Scotland Grace Neville (8 caps) London City Lionesses, England Gabi Rennie (35 caps) Åland United, Finland Ali Riley (161 caps) Angel City FC, USA Indiah-Paige Riley (23 caps) PSV Vrouwen, Netherlands Murphy Sheaff (0 caps) Kansas State University, USA Malia Steinmetz (29 caps) FC Nordsjælland, Denmark Rebekah Stott (101 caps) Melbourne City FC, Australia Kate Taylor (15 caps) Unattached Hannah Wilkinson (124 caps) Melbourne City FC, Australia



Japan vs New Zealand Saturday, June 1, 2am NZT (Friday, May 31, 4pm local) Estadio Nueva Condomina, Murcia, Spain

Japan vs New Zealand Tuesday, June 4 June, 2am NZT (Monday, June 3, 4pm local) KO 2am NZT Estadio Nueva Condomina, Murcia, Spain


Canada vs New Zealand Friday, July 26, 3am NZT (Thursday, July 25, 5pm local) Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne, France

New Zealand vs Colombia Monday, July 29, 3am NZT (Sunday, July 28, 5pm local) Stade de Lyon, Lyon, France

New Zealand vs France Thursday, August 1, 7am NZT (Wednesday, July 31, 9pm local) Stade de Lyon, Lyon, France


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