BATON ROUGE – Two LSU Tigers will be among New Zealand’s ranks when the Football Ferns travel to the nation of Cypress in early March for the 2014 Cypress Cup as All-SEC left back Megan Lee and Class of 2014 goalkeeper recruit Lily Alfeld were among the 20 players named to the senior squad by head coach Tony Readings earlier this week.
Lee will feature for the Football Ferns for the second time in as many months after earning her second international cap with her nation’s senior squad at the Yongchuan International Women’s Tournament held in the city of Chongqing, China. Lee is now a regular with New Zealand’s senior team following a run of outstanding performances with the side in 2013 and 2014.
Alfeld has been called up to the Football Ferns for the first time in her young career after captaining New Zealand’s Under-20 National Team to a berth in the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup earlier this month.
“We’re excited for Megan and Lily to be joining the Football Ferns on their Cypress tour,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “They are the type of players and people that have a positive effect on team culture and I know they’re excited and relishing the opportunity to be with the full team. New Zealand is an emerging women's soccer country with some top-class players coming through the youth ranks, and it is exciting to see Megan and Lily breaking into the full side."
A veteran of New Zealand’s U-17 and U-20 squads during her youth career, Lee is now firmly entrenched in the Football Ferns senior squad after making her full international debut during the fall. She secured her first international cap as a late substitution in New Zealand’s 1-1 draw with the world’s No. 1-ranked United States in an exhibition played at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, back on Oct. 30.
Lee then earned her first career start with New Zealand’s Football Ferns as the team’s left back against China in the opening match of the Yongchuan International Women’s Tournament played on Feb. 10.
Alfeld recently captained the U-20 New Zealand Women’s National Team to a berth in the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup as the Junior Football Ferns won the team title at the Oceania U-20 Championship with an easy 3-0 victory over Papua New Guinea in the championship match. Alfeld has already appeared in two FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cups for New Zealand in 2010 and 2012. She has earned 13 international caps during a brilliant youth career at the U-17 and U-20 levels before receiving her first international call-up at the senior level for the 2014 Cypress Cup.
This year’s Cypress Cup features 12 teams from around the world competing in group play from March 5-10 before the championship finals on March 12. New Zealand has been drawn as part of Group C and will square off against the Republic of Ireland, South Korea and Switzerland. Other nations include Canada, England, Finland and Italy in Group A and Australia, France, Netherlands and Scotland in Group B.
New Zealand, which has climbed to No. 16 in the world rankings, finished third at the Cypress Cup a year ago after defeating Italy and Scotland in group play before a 2-1 win over Switzerland in the playoff round.