Fond memories of previous campaigns are driving Elizabeth Anton as she prepares to suit up for a second U-20 cycle.
Anton was recently named in Gareth Turnbull’s 20-strong New Zealand squad for the upcoming OFC U-19 Women’s Championships having previously suited up for the U-20s during the 2016 FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign along with the U-17 FIFA World Cup campaign in 2014.
“I was excited when I found out I was named in the squad,” Anton said.
“It’s always exciting hearing that you will be able to represent your country.
“My previous age group experiences have all been really enjoyable so I can’t wait.”
Anton played every minute of the 2016 campaign and the centre back can take a lot from that experience into the July qualifiers as they aim to earn a spot in France 2018.
“I learnt a lot from my last 20s experience,” Anton said.
“I think the main thing that I learnt was to play with confidence when playing international matches.
“I think it’s important to believe in yourself, not to hide on the world stage and to just give it all you’ve got.”
The Western Springs defender – along with several other members of the squad – is involved in the New Zealand Football Ferns Development Programme, and Anton admits the the environment is second to none.
“We’re training four times a week with the top New Zealand based footballers along with a match against U-17 boy’s sides; it has really helped me to identify and work on my weaknesses and strengths.
“It’s great being in a competitive environment with team mates who have similar goals and aspirations as you do; I find this helps me to be more motivated to becoming a better player.”
Anton has her sights firmly set on reaching the pinnacle of New Zealand Football – the Football Ferns, but first has a job to do in helping the U-20s qualify for France.
“Winning is the main goal and qualifying for France 2018.
“My goals for after the OFC U-19 Championships is to make the U-20 World Cup squad, if we qualify, and in the long term I want to make the Football Ferns.”
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