Soccer's Lee Earns First Start for New Zealand
BATON ROUGE – After earning her first international cap for New Zealand against the United States in an international friendly back in October, LSU Soccer’s Megan Lee made her first career start with the Football Ferns against host China on Monday night in their opening match at the four-nations Yongchuan International Women’s Invitational Tournament.
Lee cracked New Zealand’s starting 11 at left back as the Football Ferns dropped a 1-0 decision to China after conceding a lone second-half goal in their opening match played in the city of Chongqing.
A veteran of New Zealand’s Under-17 and Under-20 squads, Lee is now firmly entrenched in the Football Ferns senior squad after making her international debut during the fall. Lee earned 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.
“When I started focusing on how I needed to play, I knew I should just concentrate on doing the simple things right,” Lee said of her mindset when learning she would make her first international start. “I knew I should pass the ball well and keep a good defensive structure and staying intact with our center backs. As long as I played solid defensively, I thought I’d be able to have a good first game and show the coaches that I am ready for these opportunities.
“To be a regular player now for these tours means a lot to me. It just shows that Tony (Readings) and Aaron (McFarland) believe in me and that I have some part in their vision for the national team.”
Lee was even singled out by New Zealand coach Tony Readings for her performance in Monday’s match. According to the official match report on http://www.nzfootball.co.nz/, “Readings highlighted the work of New Zealand U-20 player Megan Lee, starting her first match for the Football Ferns, while fellow fullback Ria Percival and midfielder Katie Hoyle also enjoyed strong outings with and without the ball.”
Lee capped an impressive debut season with the Tigers in 2013 by earning Second-Team All-Southeastern Conference honors as one of the SEC’s top defenders. She was also picked a TopDrawerSoccer.com Freshman Best XI Second Team member as the NCAA’s No. 17-ranked freshman performer by the online publication.