7 Apr 2017

Football Ferns name new captain

1:59 pm on 7 April 2017

The defender Ali Riley has been named as the new captain of the New Zealand women's football team.

The 29-year-old American-born New Zealander, who made her debut for the Football Ferns in 2007, has captained the side four times previously.

She takes over from Abby Erceg who retired from international football last month.

Riley, is one of only six players to have played 100 games for the Football Ferns.

Ali Riley has been appointed the new captain of the Football Ferns.

Ali Riley has been appointed the new captain of the Football Ferns. Photo: Photosport

Football Ferns coach Tony Readings said Riley was the obvious choice for the role.

"Ali has always been a key leader in our environment from the moment that she came into the team," he said.

"She leads completely by example. She lives the values of our team pretty much perfectly as a player. She leaves everything on the pitch but also off the pitch she is a very proactive person and is just what this team needs to keep pushing us forward."

Riley, who plays for FC Rosengard in Sweden, said she was honoured to take on the captaincy.

"It's the greatest honour I will ever have in my career," she said from Sweden.

"It's more important to me than any accolade or trophy. This team has been my family for the last 10 years, and to be able to be lead them onto the pitch is a dream come true."

Riley said with key players, like Erceg and forward Sarah Gregorius, retiring from international football the was facing challenges.

"Leading the team into this time might be scary to some people, but I have a really positive feeling about this team and, given some time, what we can look like," she said.