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Special guest surprises young footballers

 

 

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JULIA WADE

Local young footballers – plus coaches and parents – were all abuzz at a recent training session, due to their local football fields being graced by an international sports star.

Mangawhai Football Club (MFC) welcomed New Zealand Football Ferns goalkeeper Erin Nayler who dropped by with partner Jordon to kick around a few balls and pass some tips to budding goalkeepers on July 2 at the Mangawhai Domain.

Nayler, who is still excited herself after the recent announcement regarding New Zealand winning the rights to co-host the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2023, was staying in the Bream Bay neighbourhood when invited by MFC coach and committee member Bobby Farmer to a training day.

“I really enjoyed being here and playing with the kids,” Nayler says, who spent a number of childhood holidays in Mangawhai. “It’s a great club, can feel the passion and energy. I’m glad to be able to share a bit of my knowledge with the kids.”

Beginning her impressive goalkeeper career at only age ten, Nayler has been safeguarding the net for a number of football teams including Westlake Girls High School, American IPFW Mastodons and Bordeaux in France as well as representing NZ at FIFA’s 2019 Women’s World Cup. The 28-year-old first studied biology at Indiana University in 2010 and in 2019 was studying molecular biology at Massey University.

On behalf of the club, MFC president Craig Freeman and Farmer presented Nayler gifts from local businesses Bennetts Chocolate Factory, Bammas surf shop and graphic design company Threadbox.

“Erin’s a great example of the growth of football, somebody who has a breadth of experience at the highest level of the sport,” Freeman says. “Her kindness and generosity of giving the kids her time and sharing with them the years of her experience and skills, and for the kids to learn a bit of that, is awesome!”

 

International soccer star, Football Ferns goalkeeper Erin Nayler, did some good old-fashioned grass roots coaching with Mangawhai Football Club juniors during a special visit last week. PHOTO/JOSIE GRITTEN PHOTOGRAPHY

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