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Bittersweet moment for Māori football player Grace Jale, called into NZ Football A camp

Auckland's Eastern Suburbs player Grace Jale has been called into the New Zealand Football women's A training squad, relinquishing her position playing for the Māori women's football side this weekend.

The 19-year-old said the news of being called into the New Zealand A football camp is bittersweet

"It's always an honour to make those camps, you know there is professional players all over the world performing and (I'm) stuck here in New Zealand, so I need to work my hardest," said Jale.

"It's always an honour and I am really excited."

The New Zealand A football camp runs from January 17-20 in Auckland with the 28 players announced for the training camp yesterday.

Grace Jale.
OFC U-19 Women’s Championship. New Zealand vs. Tonga, Ngahue Reserve, Auckland, New Zealand, Monday 24 July 2017.
© Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz
Grace Jale in action for New Zealand against Tonga during the OFC U-19 Women's Championship. Source: Photosport

The call-up means Jale will miss out on the trans-Tasman football series between the New Zealand Māori women's team and the Australian Indigenous side this weekend in Sydney.

Jale was a part of the Māori team last year and says it is a unique experience.

"Māori they are a different breed, they are one of kind. It's just different," she said.

"I don't want to say it's so much better, but it is different.

"You need a change up from other environments, there's laughs and good times here – love it here (Māori women's team)."

Jale made the Football Ferns squad as a 16-year-old, travelling with the team in 2015 to take on Brazil in an Olympic qualifier.

She has played for the New Zealand under 17s and under 20s women's teams.

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Jale, 19, had to withdraw from the series against the Australian Indigenous side, to join the A side. Source: Te Karere


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