Saint Kentigern College and Three Kings United club striker Hannah Blake is heading to Jordan for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup off the back of a successful Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League campaign.
The 16-year old was part of a front three that included Football Fern Paige Satchell and U-20’s striker Martine Puketapu, all of whom contributed to Three Kings’ unbeaten season that saw the team score an impressive 109 goals.
Blake says playing alongside the likes of Satchell and Puketapu will prove valuable when she steps foot onto the field in Jordan.
“I really enjoyed playing with Paige and Marty as a front three,” says Blake
“I felt our playing styles complemented each other well. We had different strengths which allowed us to work so well together and we have all enjoyed elements of success with Marty winning the Golden Boot and Paige travelling to Rio for the Olympics.”
“It was great to be able to learn off players who have experienced football at a World Cup level and I am sure it will be valuable come time for Jordan,” she adds.
In 18 league matches, Blake found the back of the net 24 times including a six-goal haul in their 16-1 win over Hamilton Wanderers.
The figure put her second equal on the Golden Boot ladder only three goals behind team mate Puketapu and Blake believes the successful season gives her a boost of confidence.
“From a personal perspective it was great to finish the season with 24 goals but I felt it was the consistency throughout the whole season that gives me the most confidence.”
“Being able to add to my tally against top sides in the competition was rewarding and it’s a good feeling heading into a World Cup after a successful season goal scoring wise.”
New Zealand U-17 Coach Gareth Turnbull is equally as pleased with the youngster’s form for Three Kings.
“Hannah has had a great club season and has continued her goal scoring exploits from last summer’s National Women’s League.”
“It’s the positive performances with both goals and assists throughout the club season that has put her in a good place to compete for a starting spot at the World Cup in a few weeks’ time.”
“When Hannah is playing with full confidence, we are a better team for it,” Turnbull adds.
The successful year has not come by luck for the St Kent’s student, with obvious hard work and influential mentors helping her along the way.
“From a young age I was heavily involved with Coerver Coaching with Phil Parker and that helped me develop a platform to start making improvements in my game,” says Blake.
“More recently, Daniel Cope has invested a lot of time into helping me develop and over the last two years Alan Hindson has been a big influence on me. He saw my potential and put his confidence in me to play for Three Kings’ Premier Women’s side at 14 years-old and he has continued my development since then through school and club football.”
As a result, she is now able to test her skills against the world’s best with three matches against the host nation Jordan, Spain and Mexico, and Blake believes there could be more.
“You never want to get too far ahead of yourself, but we feel we have a squad with the ability to surprise a few teams.”
“It’s obviously difficult to get a gauge of the strength of the teams we will be facing but we believe we have the ability to get out of the group stage and potentially further.”
Hannah’s St Kent’s First XI recently finished third behind winners Mount Albert Grammar School at the NZSS Girls Nationals in Nelson. St Kent’s lost 0-4 to MAGS in their semi-final and beat Hamilton Girls’ High School 4-1 in the playoff for 3rd and 4th.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand