Abby Erceg (NZL)
The first player, male or female, to amass 100 caps for New Zealand, central defender Abby Erceg is of Croatian-Māori descent and affiliates to the Ngāpuhi iwi tribe. Last year, she was part of the Carolina Courage side that won the National Women’s Soccer League, earning a place in the NWSL Best XI and being awarded NWSL Best Defender. A fierce competitor on the pitch, the Football Ferns will be buoyed by Erceg’s decision earlier this year to come out of retirement and make herself available for World Cup selection.
Illustration by Scott McRoy