Kya dreams of staying on the pitch for big game

WALK-ON ROLE: Kya Solomon at football training. She will walk on to the Westpac Stadium pitch in Wellington tomorrow with the New Zealand and Japanese women’s football teams. Picture by Liam Clayton

Wainui Beach School’s Kya Solomon is no stranger to the experience of being on the Westpac Stadium pitch before an international match, in front of 37,000 fans.

The nine-year-old football fanatic was one of 22 schoolchildren — aged six to 10 and living in New Zealand — chosen to be escorted on to the pitch by players from the All Whites and Peruvian teams before the World Cup qualifying match in November last year. It ended in a goalless draw.

Peru went on to book their place in the finals in Russia with a 2-0 win in Lima in the return leg.
Tomorrow Kya will again walk on to the Westpac Stadium pitch as the Football Ferns (New Zealand women’s team) play Japan.

And while the Football Ferns will not attract the sellout crowd that the men did last year, Kya is looking forward to the occasion.

“It’s going to be exciting meeting some of my idols and walking on to the Westpac Stadium pitch again,” Kya said.

“I don’t mind which player I get to walk out with, but if I could have my pick my first choice would be Ali Riley (a defender/midfielder who plays for FC Rosengård in Sweden).

“Next would be Betsy Hassett (a midfielder whose clubs include Manchester City, Werder Bremen, Ajax and current team KR Reykjavik in Iceland), and my third choice would be Sarah Gregorius (a striker who has played for Liverpool and now plays for Upper Hutt City).”

However, Kya, a Central Federation under-10 striker, has a favourite player not in the Football Ferns.
“If they were playing any other team, I would love it to be Canada,” she said.

“My biggest idol, Christine Sinclair, is in that team and they are currently fourth in the world.

“And if I ever got to play for the Football Ferns, I would love to wear the No.12 jersey because that’s Christine’s number.”

OK, if you could pick any other game to be involved in as walk-on, which would it be?
“El Clasico — Real Madrid versus Barcelona — in Barcelona,” Kya said.
“Lionel Messi is my favourite player.”

Kya hopes to attend Stanford University in California.
“Ali (Riley), who is the Football Ferns captain, went to Stanford, and they have one of the top-ranked US university teams,” she said.

Kya will have her father Derek, mother Nicky and sister Zoe, 11, in Wellington supporting her tomorrow.

Wainui Beach School’s Kya Solomon is no stranger to the experience of being on the Westpac Stadium pitch before an international match, in front of 37,000 fans.

The nine-year-old football fanatic was one of 22 schoolchildren — aged six to 10 and living in New Zealand — chosen to be escorted on to the pitch by players from the All Whites and Peruvian teams before the World Cup qualifying match in November last year. It ended in a goalless draw.

Peru went on to book their place in the finals in Russia with a 2-0 win in Lima in the return leg.
Tomorrow Kya will again walk on to the Westpac Stadium pitch as the Football Ferns (New Zealand women’s team) play Japan.

And while the Football Ferns will not attract the sellout crowd that the men did last year, Kya is looking forward to the occasion.

“It’s going to be exciting meeting some of my idols and walking on to the Westpac Stadium pitch again,” Kya said.

“I don’t mind which player I get to walk out with, but if I could have my pick my first choice would be Ali Riley (a defender/midfielder who plays for FC Rosengård in Sweden).

“Next would be Betsy Hassett (a midfielder whose clubs include Manchester City, Werder Bremen, Ajax and current team KR Reykjavik in Iceland), and my third choice would be Sarah Gregorius (a striker who has played for Liverpool and now plays for Upper Hutt City).”

However, Kya, a Central Federation under-10 striker, has a favourite player not in the Football Ferns.
“If they were playing any other team, I would love it to be Canada,” she said.

“My biggest idol, Christine Sinclair, is in that team and they are currently fourth in the world.

“And if I ever got to play for the Football Ferns, I would love to wear the No.12 jersey because that’s Christine’s number.”

OK, if you could pick any other game to be involved in as walk-on, which would it be?
“El Clasico — Real Madrid versus Barcelona — in Barcelona,” Kya said.
“Lionel Messi is my favourite player.”

Kya hopes to attend Stanford University in California.
“Ali (Riley), who is the Football Ferns captain, went to Stanford, and they have one of the top-ranked US university teams,” she said.

Kya will have her father Derek, mother Nicky and sister Zoe, 11, in Wellington supporting her tomorrow.

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