Despite Auckland Football’s National Women’s League campaign coming to an end, football doesn’t stop for four members of the squad, one of those being Western Springs midfielder Milly McWhirter.
The 16-year old has had a rapid rise in football, only joining a club six years ago after being inspired by current Football Fern squad member Daisy Cleverley.
“At primary school all of the boys played football and there was always one girl who skilled them all.”
“That was Daisy Cleverley. Watching her inspired me to start playing. I joined my local club at 10 years old expecting to play socially and I happened to make the top team,” says McWhirter.
It was the start of a journey that would soon see her attending New Zealand Football’s National Talent Centre and competing against the best female footballers across the country in the National Women’s League.
McWhirter made her National Women’s League debut in round five, coming on as an 80th minute substitute in Auckland’s 5-1 victory over Central Football.
And, despite that being her sole appearance of the campaign, the overall experience was one she relished.
“It was a great experience! I feel that I improved a lot over the course of the campaign.”
“At the start of the NWL season I made it my goal to make the 16 on game day. I knew that it would be hard because we had 11 midfielders named in the squad. So, considering the caliber of our midfield group it was great to achieve that goal and get a run on the field.”
“It was also really good as a young player to train with experienced players from other Auckland clubs. I’ve only ever played at Western Springs so it was great to get the opportunity to play alongside these other players.”
McWhirter now turns her attention to the National Age Group tournament where she will be representing Auckland Football in the U-16 age group.
“Having been part of the tournament last year I realised that it is a fantastic opportunity to show what I can do in front of New Zealand football and to also measure myself against players from other federations.
“We came a really close second last year so as an older member of the squad I hope that I can help Auckland go one better this year.”
McWhirter will be joined by fellow Auckland National Women’s League players Maisy Dewell, Britney Cunningham-Lee and Jenna Dodd in Wellington from December 14-18 for the National Age Group Tournament.