It’s been three years since Deven Jackson last donned the silver fern but she doesn’t have to wait much longer to wear it again after being named in Gareth Turnbull’s New Zealand squad for the OFC U-19 Women’s Championships in July.
The Three Kings United playmaker was a member of the New Zealand team that competed at the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica and was extremely excited to be named – among eight players from AFF clubs – in an international side again.
“It’s exciting getting selected for any national team,” Jackson said.
“I was certainly really happy and proud; it has made me really motivated to keep playing well and to up my game even more.”
Jackson is aware the opportunity to represent her country doesn’t come around very often, and having experienced competing on the world stage already, she knows how hard she has to work.
“My previous international experience helps remind me every time I have the opportunity to play, to give it my all.
“These opportunities are limited, so to be gifted the chance to play means you have a job to do and you must do it well.”
In the space of three years the central midfielder has been working hard on lifting her game, with a lot of focus going into the physical side of things.
“I’ve been working hard in all aspects of my game, especially the physical components,” Jackson said.
“I think this has helped my development more than anything and my football journey is now on the rise after many ups and downs.”
Someone who has been there for her through those ups and downs is her father, with Jackson crediting his impact on her success.
“My dad is really my number one fan.
“He is brutal when he needs to be, but is always supportive and encouraging.
“Having been a prodigy in his field of sport, he has passed on a lot of knowledge and mental skills which I can relate to football.”
Those mental skills will certainly be put to the test when Jackson and the New Zealand U-20 side take on Papua New Guinea, Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa and Tonga in the space of 13 days at Ngahue Reserve in Auckland in a bid to qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
New Zealand schedule at OFC U-19 Women’s Championship
(Ngahue Reserve, Auckland)
vs Papua New Guinea
Tuesday 11 July, 10am
Friday 14 July, 10am
vs New Caledonia
Monday 17 July, 12.30pm
Friday 21 July, 10am
Monday 24 July, 10am