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22 Feb 2018 15:59
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Soccer

    Erceg, Gregorius back for Football Ferns

    The Football Ferns receive a major boost as former skipper Abby Erceg and striker Sarah Gregorius come out of retirement.

    Former captain Abby Erceg and striker Sarah Gregorius have both come out of retirement for the Football Ferns' next assignment against Scotland.

    World class centre back Erceg is available for the twin internationals in Spain in early March, having retired a year ago citing the lack of support from New Zealand Football for domestic-based players.

    The North Carolina-based professional, 28, has been lured back by new head coach Andreas Heraf, along with Japan-based Gregorius, 30.

    Heraf, the Technical Director at New Zealand Football, said the return of the pair would inject a huge boost for the Football Ferns as they build towards the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France.

    "We are not a big football country so to welcome back Abby and Sarah who have played more than 200 A Internationals between them and many World Cups and Olympics is a great result for our team," he said.

    "We know that we are a much stronger team with those two players involved and that we need to continue improving as a football team."

    Erceg, New Zealand's most-capped player with 131 internationals, has attended three Olympic Games and three World Cups. She was captain from 2014-17.

    Gregorius has been to two Olympics and two World Cups. She has scored 25 goals in 82 internationals.

    Erceg is one of six players in the 21-strong squad who boast more than 100 caps.

    At the other end of the experience scale, Sydney-based midfielder Emma Rolston is in line for a debut while players like Victoria Esson, Anna Leat, Malia Steinmetz, Katie Rood and Stephanie Skilton are retained after making their maiden appearances last year.

    Injured trio Rosie White (foot), Daisy Cleverley (knee) and Paige Satchell (knee) weren't considered for the 19th-ranked Football Ferns, who will face world No.23 Scotland in San Pedro del Pinatar on March 3 and 6.

    Football Ferns:

    Goalkeepers: Victoria Esson, Anna Leat, Erin Nayler.

    Defenders: CJ Bott, Abby Erceg, Anna Green, Meikayla Moore, Ali Riley, Rebekah Stott.

    Midfielders: Katie Bowen, Olivia Chance, Betsy Hassett, Annalie Longo, Ria Percival, Emma Rolston, Malia Steinmetz.

    Forwards: Sarah Gregorius, Amber Hearn, Katie Rood, Stephanie Skilton, Hannah Wilkinson.


    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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