14 May 2015

Veteran Football Ferns mid-fielder retires

12:23 pm on 14 May 2015

The long-serving Football Ferns midfielder Hayley Bowden has announced her retirement from international football.

Bowden said she had decided to end her playing career with the national team two months ago but took time to think the decision through before confirming her retirement officially.

The 31-year-old Bowden retires having played 92 matches for the national side having made her debut against Samoa in 2003.

Football Ferns midfielder Hayley Bowden.

Football Ferns mid-fielder Hayley Bowden. Photo: Photosport

Bowden played at two FIFA Women's World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011 and appeared at both the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic games, the latter campaign seeing the Football Ferns reach the quarter-finals.

Bowden said the time commitment to her young family balanced against the training time required to compete at the highest level made a difficult decision easier to make.

"I feel like I couldn't invest the time I needed to in order to be at my best as a footballer.

"My husband and I have a 16 month old son, so all my time and effort goes into my family. They are my number one priority.

"It was always my goal to come back and play international football after I had my son, and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to do so, but in the end I have decided to retire.

Coach Tony Readings said words can't do justice to the impact Bowden has had on the team.

"She has been in the squad for over 10 years and the transformation the team has made in that time has been pretty incredible."

"Hayley was part of the teams that did get beaten heavily and she has been part of these recent teams. It shows the character and the ability of someone who can keep improving her performance to keep track over that period of time," he said.