Football: Ferns the target for hotshot Rood

By Cameron Leslie

Whangarei's Katie Rood is hoping for her stellar football season to continue as she looks to shoot her way into the national team.

Rood, 20, has enjoyed a golden season for Northern Football, scoring six goals in five games.

The New Zealand under-20 representative has spent most of the year in England playing for the Lincoln Ladies Football Club - who were coached by former North Force men's coach Dean Wheatly.

"He asked in January and I found myself jetting off in February not knowing if I would be there for three weeks or seven months," said Rood.

Rood's team were the only side in the Super League to beat and draw with Arsenal all season, but failed to live up to their potential and finished fifth out of eight.

During her stay in England, Rood was called into New Zealand's under-20 team ahead of the Women's World Cup in Japan - beating Switzerland in the first game, scoring an upset draw against the tournament favourites Japan, and missing out against Mexico after having only needed one point from the match.

"This was certainly the highlight of the year," said Rood. "I was proud to have played a part in such a fantastic tournament and I would encourage young kids out there to aspire to the under-17 and 20 tournaments when they are of age."

Rood is glad to have her horror run with injuries behind her after a stress fracture in her foot forced her out of contention for the Football Ferns just after being called into the squad.

"It was a tough time for me but I wouldn't have had it any other way," she says.

"I know now how much the game means to me and it made this year's World Cup experience all the more sweeter.

"All I can do now is play and train my best and hope to impress the new Football Ferns coach, Tony Readings, so that I can get a better taste for the game at international level."

For now though, Rood is thankful to have escaped the Northern Hemisphere winter and is looking forward to finishing off a strong season with Northern Football before enjoying Northland's summer.

"It was starting to get cold there, so [I'm] happy to be back in the Whangarei sunshine again. I have had my overseas experience, now it's time to get stuck into real life. Job and study time," said Rood.

"Ultimately, I would love to be a professional footballer and I believe that in the future there will be the opportunity to do that as the women's game is growing exponentially but, for the time-being, I need to sort out a life aside from football that I can fall back on if need be."

- Northern Advocate

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