Two days on from claiming a historic bronze medal at the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup and the Junior Football Ferns are still beaming.
The Under 17 women's side made history on Sunday morning (NZT) by becoming the first New Zealand team to claim a medal at a FIFA tournament after defeating Canada 2-1 at the Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo.
Arriving home at Auckland Airport this morning from Uruguay to a crowd of proud family and friends, the girls were still in high spirits, with attacking centre-half Maia Hahn describing the reception as surreal.
"I wasn't expecting this kind of reception this early in the morning, everyone is cheering for us, it's pretty crazy but it's definitely an amazing feeling," she said.
"I don't think anyone was expecting us to get this far and I think to get the medal is a huge boost for women's football in New Zealand and it's amazing to be a part of it, it's a great feeling."
Hahn was one of a few girls who caught the eye of overseas selectors to play for a US college next year.
After verbally committing to play for the University of Oregon in Eugene late last year, Hahn was pleased to confirm she had officially signed her contract while in Uruguay and will depart for the US mid-next year.
Football Ferns coach Leon Birnie was proud that the stunning result had already opened doors for his players in the international scene and said it was another step in the right direction for Football New Zealand following the Andreas Heraf saga.
"It's a really great time for football and women's football in New Zealand and I just see it continuing," he said. "We've got to keep riding that wave, we've got some real role models now that we can get out into the community, get out to clubs, schools, and junior football, and really utilise these girls to inspire the next generation coming through.
"It's an exciting time also for them, now they've got some real opportunities, they've seen what the world stage is like, they're able to more than compete over there and they've got some really good opportunities ahead of them.
"I'm really hoping that this is not a one-off and I'm hoping that we can keep getting out of the groups, keep really challenging those quarterfinals and those semi-finals and who knows what the future holds."
Attacking midfielder Gabby Rennie said to have exceeded even their own expectations at the U-17 FIFA World Cup had only motivated her more to chase the dream of a becoming a pro football player.
Describing the result as a huge boost for the women's game, Rennie said the exposure gained from playing on the world's biggest stage had set all the girls on a path toward bright futures in the sport.
"I think it really does show that we have the players, we have the talent, we have the want and the belief and I think there's a really exciting age group coming through for New Zealand football," she said. "I think it's really good that we could finish on such a high note because it shows that New Zealand Football is a really great franchise and we have a great future ahead of us."
"There was great exposure out there, not only exposure for ourselves but exposure for our country proving that New Zealand can really go out there and play football."
"People like me and other girls in the team really want to progress and go pro and represent the Ferns, the senior team as well ... it's been a really good taster for us all."