Football Fern nominated for Young Sportsperson of the Year

Hugh Collins - stuff.co.nz


Headroom

Despite representing New Zealand in two squads, Football Fern Daisy Cleverley has continued to represent her school.

Daisy Cleverley knows where her loyalties lie.

Despite representing New Zealand in football for both the Football Ferns and the under-20s, the Western Springs College student has continued to play for her school First XI.

The 18-year-old is on the nomination list for an ASB Young Sportsperson of the Year award.

Western Springs sports director Peter McIntrye says Cleverley is unusual in representing her school while meeting her national team commitments.

"Daisy did not have to play for school this year, athletes make choices and this one was a very, very hard one. We had to get a dispensation for her to play for school.

"For her to make that decision, because they left it up to her, is huge," McIntyre says.

The year 13 student made her debut with the Football Ferns in April last year.

She played with the senior side at the Fifa Women's World Cup in Canada two months later.

Representing New Zealand has taken her to six countries in 2015 all while keeping on top of school work.

"Football dominates my life so I guess juggling all aspects, social and school work, has been challenging but it's been really good for me in terms of independence and responsibility," Cleverley says.

Being a female footballer has its challenges due to being overshadowed by men's football, she says.

"I get frustrated with the coverage we get, it's tiny compared to the men."

Cleverley says during the Ferns' World Cup campaign the media chose to focus on a dispute between coaches - as opposed to the fact the team had a great performance and were only one goal away from reaching the quarterfinal.

Her focus now is to train with the two national squads for the 2016 Olympic qualifying matches and the Under-20 World Cup.

The ASB Young Sportsperson of the Year awards will be announced on November 28.