The Capital Women’s U18 team recently finished fourth at the New Zealand U18 Regional Tournament played at the National Hockey Stadium in Wellington. The team’s goalkeeper Amy Rossiter-Stead was subsequently selected as one of four Wellington region players in the New Zealand U18 squads.
Amy has had a busy season playing for both the Wairarapa College First XI team and for Dalefield in Wellington club hockey competition.
College Sport Media met Amy caught up with Amy ahead of the Federation Cup tournament that runs all next week in Auckland.
How did you and Capital U18 go at the recent national tournament?
This is my second year playing in the tournament for the Capital U18 Women’s team. This year was really enjoyable for me as I was one of the senior players in the team and was also in the leadership group. We had a very successful tournament, placing fourth, which was a massive improvement from last year where we finished eighth. We placed second in our pool to the champions Central and then beat Canterbury in the top four play-offs. Unfortunately we were unlucky to lose the bronze medal match on the final day.
What were some highlights, from a team an personal perspective?
A major highlight was to be able to see how much a positive team culture can influence a team. This year a key focus was on our culture and I think it really showed in our performances at national tournament. We had faith in every team member and our awesome coaching/management staff who helped us thrive.
My personal highlight would have to be beating Canterbury in shootouts after a 4-4 draw in normal time. They are always a classy side, so to save 4 out of their 5 shootout attempts was definitely the highlight of the tournament. I have been working especially hard on shootout technique with my coach Steffan from the LEAP Goalkeeping Academy so I was really pleased with the outcome of this game.
Congratulations on being selected for the NZ U18 squad – was this squad selected directly from the National U18 tournament and was selection a surprise for you?
It has always been a dream of mine to make a New Zealand team, but at tournament there were a lot of quality goalkeepers so I knew it would be tough to be selected. The squad is selected from your performance at national tournament so I couldn’t quite believe it when I got the text from Dane Lett letting me know I’d made it, but its pleasing to see hard work does pay off in the end. I have had such a supportive group of people make this possible for me and I’m really grateful to my coaches, team-mates, parents and sponsors for everything they’ve done for me.
Is there a training camp coming up?
From what I understand it’s a series of training camps across the country and games within the squad. The first one is in Mount Maunganui in October. It’s basically to gather all the best U18 players in the country in one squad and expose them to a national squad environment.
Who else from the Wairarapa was selected for the National U18 squad?
Ollie Bunny was selected for the New Zealand U18 men’s squad which is pretty outstanding. He also attends Wairarapa College and he captained the Capital U18 men this year.
When did you start playing hockey and how did you become a goalkeeper?
My hockey journey started when I was five where I played for my local Kia Kaha hockey club in Greytown. I have represented Wairarapa since the age of nine, starting on the field as a defender. When I was 11 my mum needed a goalie for her women’s team that played in the local competition so she asked if I would put on the pads and stand in the goal for her. It turned out I really enjoyed the thrill of being a goalkeeper and loved the specialised role. Since then I have only ever played goalie and wouldn’t change it for the world.
The thing I love most about being a goalkeeper is that it’s completely different to any other position on the field. It is also quite creative with the shootout aspect which I love. It does require a different kind of fitness to a regular outfield player. It’s essentially a lot of hours in the gym building up your strength and working on explosive and agile movements. We don’t have to run long distances, but we have to be fast and powerful!
Tell us a bit about your gear as a goalkeeper?
There is a lot of (very expensive!) gear involved in being a goalkeeper. In total there are 15 pieces of equipment that I have to wear which includes groin pad, shorts, kickers, leg guard, chest guard, arm guards, a goalie top (different from the field players), a helmet, gloves and a stick (I use a special goalie stick but many goalkeepers prefer a regular field stick.)
What about when games go to extra time and you might have to abandon your goal?
This rule varies from tournament to tournament. At the national tournament it went straight to shootouts after a draw which is very exciting and my favourite part of the game! Some tournaments allow the goalie to remain on the turf for extra time, but it just depends on the rules.
Have you played in the Federation Cup before?
This will be my first year playing in Federation Cup which will be really exciting. I previously attended Solway College for six years who play in the local Wairarapa competition, but I knew I needed to be playing in a Wellington competition on a weekly basis to further my hockey. Wairarapa College placed 20th in the country in 2018 so we have big goals around this year’s competition. We have a tough pool, but if we keep training hard I’m confident we will succeed.
I am privileged to be in a team with a really positive team culture and all the girls work really hard at training so it’s a great environment to be in. We are lucky to have experienced and positive coaching staff as well lead by Mr Willie Schaefer.
In club hockey, you played for Dalefield this season. Tell us a bit about how the club season?
This is my second year playing for Dalefield Premier Women. I really owe it to Dalefield for helping me achieve my goals in hockey. Playing in the Wellington Premier 1 competition, I am exposed to the best players in the region every week. I have learnt so much from experienced players including Katherine van Woerkom and Michael O’Connor who have played for various Capital and New Zealand teams. Unfortunately we lost against Victoria University on Saturday which puts us in the 3rd and 4th playoff. Even though this is not where we ideally wanted to end up, I have learnt so much this season and can’t thank our coach Michael and manager Karen enough for the hours they devote to our amazing club.
How many of your school teammates play for Dalefield?
There are four Wairarapa College girls who play for Dalefield which is really cool. We learn so much off the senior girls, but we are also exposed to members of the Dalefield men’s team such as Benedict van Woerkom and Black Stick Dane Lett, who help out with trainings and share their knowledge which is invaluable.
Outside of hockey, have you played other sports?
I used to be a competitive swimmer, my best event was 200m butterfly and when I was 12 years old I placed 11th at the New Zealand Junior Swimming Championships, but I stopped swimming when I was 14. I also used to play Cricket for the Solway First XI and have played at a representative level as well, Wairarapa U15s. However, hockey became my priority and I devote all my attention towards that at the moment, but in the summer months I do Cross Fit which has been so useful to my goalkeeping position due to the strength and plyometric component.
The Federation Cup/Marie Fry tournament is in Auckland from 2/7 September. Wairarapa College are in Pool D with Villa Maria College, St Andrew’s College and Wellington Girls’ College.
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