Ali Riley Helps New Zealand Qualify for 2007 World Cup
April 18, 2007
Stanford, Calif. - Stanford's Ali Riley helped the New Zealand Women's National Team qualify for its second all-time World Cup last week, as the team tallied 21 goals in three games to complete a clean-sweep of the four-team Oceania World Cup qualifier and book the last of 16 places at the September 10-30 World Cup in China. Riley started all three games for New Zealand and helped the team to its first spot in the World Cup since 1991.
New Zealand is the last team to qualify for China, joining the hosts and Australia, Korea, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, England, Nigeria, Ghana, the United States, Canada, Argentina and Brazil.
Riley competed for New Zealand at the U-20 Women's World Cup last summer and has since been training with the full Women's National Team. In November, Riley was named the Nike International Women's Player of the Year and the Nike International Young Women's Player of the Year by New Zealand Soccer. In early January, she participated in an eight-day training camp in Auckland involving 30 players, and, in early February, she competed with the team in matches against Australia. Earlier this month, Riley was selected to the final 20-player roster for the OFC Qualifying Tournament. Riley's father, a professor at UCLA, was born in New Zealand and Riley holds dual citizenship.
'It was an honor to help New Zealand qualify for World Cup 2007,' said Riley. 'I have always dreamed of playing in the World Cup, and this will be an amazing opportunity for New Zealand soccer, especially the women's side. There are some great camps and internationals planned for the next couple of months, and I hope to be a part of them. This is definitely going to be an exciting next couple of years!'
Riley made an immediate impact in her rookie season at Stanford, making 15 starts and finishing as the squad's fourth-leading scorer with ten points. The Pacific Palisades, Calif. native netted the key first goal for the Cardinal in the NCAA First Round and assisted on fellow freshman Kelley O'Hara's insurance goal in the Second Round against USC. An All-Pac-10 Freshman selection, Riley was a member of the standout freshman class that was responsible for nearly half of the Cardinal scoring in 2006.
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