Football Ferns Legend Ria Percival Retires from International Career

Football Ferns Ria Percival and Anna Green dejected after their loss to Scotland.

Midfielder Ria Percival has announced her retirement from international football, ending an illustrious 18-year career with the Football Ferns.

Percival played 166 times at senior level, more than any other female or male player in New Zealand football history, in a career that spanned four Olympic Games and five FIFA World Cups.

Her final matches came during the pool phase of last year’s World Cup co-hosted by New Zealand, having fought back from a serious knee injury suffered the previous year.

The 34-year-old, who is on loan at English club Crystal Palace, said the decision to end her international career came with a “heavy heart”.

“It has been one of the most difficult decisions that I’ve had to make, and it’s not been one that I’ve taken lightly, but I feel that it is the right time for me,” Percival said in a statement.

“As I look back, with many different emotions, and reflect on my time as a Fern, it’s been the biggest honour and a pleasure to have represented New Zealand.

“I’ve worn the shirt with pride, courage, commitment, dedication and gave everything that I have for my country. I’ve learnt so much and grown both on and off the pitch over the years, becoming a leader, role model, and mentor, inspiring my team mates as well as the next generation.”

Ria Percival slides into Lieke Martens

Percival’s first taste of international football came as a 15-year-old, playing at the 2006 under-20 World Cup.

She made her Football Ferns debut a year later, winning selection for the FIFA World Cup in China.

After representing Auckland club Lynn-Avon United, Percival’s long offshore professional career began in North America, before three stints at German clubs.

After a season at West Ham, she moved to cross-town English Super League rivals Tottenham Hotspur in 2019, playing nearly 50 games there before being loaned to Crystal Palace this year.

2024-04-07 21:42:10
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