Maia Jackman quickly decided her stellar international soccer career would not lead to coaching. The 37-year-old Jackman, a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, retired in 2012 nearly 20 years after her international debut.
She is the new national education manager for Drug Free Sport New Zealand but hopes her training as a physiotherapist keeps her involved with soccer.
Passion for soccer brought her 50 "A" caps from 1993 to 2010, the highlight being selection in the Fifa world XI which played China at the 2007 World Cup. After battling injury, Jackman retired before the London selection when coach Tony Readings told her she was an unlikely choice. Still, she travelled to London, as a spectator.
Her CV oddity is playing in a Chinese professional league in 2002.
Reflecting, Jackman recalled amazing support from her father Michael and mother Jenny. When Jackman was 15, they shifted from Kerikeri to Auckland so her sporting prowess could best flourish, a move made at some cost to Jenny's cherished midwifery career.
Jackman framed her New Year's honour letter as her mother's Christmas present.
"They didn't want to send me to boarding school so moved their whole lives here for me," she said. "Later I realised how massive that was. When mum opened the present, her mouth dropped, she gasped and started crying. She said how proud she was. It means more to me because it means so much to them."