Abby Erceg is New Zealand women’s international football team’s most capped players with 129 appearances to her name.
Recently the New Zealand legend shocked the world with her retirement from the international game due to her clashing beliefs with the NZF.
After starting her career with Three Kings United in her home country of New Zealand in 2004, the talented footballer moved on to Western Springs FC for a season in 2007 where she scored a total of 12 league goals in 22 appearances.
Following her brief spell with Western Springs the defender returned to Three Kings United in 2009 before leaving for Spanish side, RCD Espanyol.
In 2011, Erceg signed for Australian side, Adelaide United FC before moving to the German Bundesliga when she joined FF USV Jena, where she got her second taste of European football.
After making 30 league appearances for Jena, the former Fencibles United player moved to America for the first time when she joined Chicago Red Stars in May 2014.
Erceg has since gone on to play for Western New York Flash as well as current side, North Carolina Courage.
After appearing for New Zealand over 120 times whilst playing at a number of competitions including the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Erceg announced her retirement from international football on Monday.
You announced your retirement from international football on Monday after a lack of support from the New Zealand national body. How long did it take you to make this decision?
It has been a decision with much thought behind it, I’ve spoke to a lot of people and had a lot of opinions to ensure that this is the right decision for me.
Please can you give some details on why you have decided to retire from international football?
It is never easy to articulate everything that goes into such a complex decision such as this. Essentially my beliefs, ideologies and philosophies don’t align with that of the NZF.
You are New Zealand Women’s most capped player. How honoured were you to represent your country for such a long time?
Representing my country was the greatest honour of my life. I went to pinnacle events and saw the world and these are things I will always be extremely grateful for.
American soccer legend Hope Solo has publicly supported your decision. How do you feel about this?
It’s always nice to get support, especially from women who are in the same code as yourself. What we really need is support from our federation and those are the people who we really need to pay attention.
You will continue to play club football for North Carolina Courage. How are you finding your time in America?
I enjoy club football in America very much. This will be my fourth year there and hopefully not the last!
Would you ever consider a return move to Europe?
I’ve played in Europe in previous years with USV Jena in the German Bundesliga. Although it was good for me to gain experience in other leagues, ultimately I prefer the style in America.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
This is a tough question and obviously it relies heavily on the length of my career. I could easily have another five years playing football, so I imagine in 10 years my working career will only be starting to take off (hopefully) whether that is in New Zealand or in America is yet to be seen.
Finally, how can women’s football progress even further?
Firstly, I think women’s football has already come so far, especially since I began playing at an elite level. Countries like Australia and America are doing a great job at raising the profile of what is going on in these sports and fighting for equality. I think the next step is to get more countries to follow their lead!