Rebecca SMITH (NZL)
© Getty Images

From growing up in Los Angeles, watching USA win the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999 to being called up to the New Zealand national team, Football Ferns centre-back Rebecca Smith talks to Live Your Goalsabout her best footballing experiences:

How do you feel about all of the travel that you have to do with football? Does it bother you?
Not at all - I love travelling! I love the personal time that I can spend on aeroplanes, whether it’s watching films, writing or just relaxing.  Football has given me the chance to live, work and travel in so many countries.  I feel very lucky to have played football in the US, Sweden, Australia, Germany and New Zealand as well as playing in one FIFA Women’s World Cup in China and the Beijing Olympics in 2008.      

What is your favourite holiday destination?
Well, funnily enough my favourite holiday destination is actually the country that I am representing at the FIFA Women’s World Cup – New Zealand! I’ve never actually lived full-time in New Zealand. Although all of my family are Kiwis, I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I go back about once a year and love nothing more than to do a car tour around the beautiful country.

Football has given me the chance to live, work and travel in so many countries.
Rebecca Smith, New Zealand defender.

You have many fans following your career. But do you also have an idol?
Yes, growing up in the US meant that I saw a lot of great women’s footballers. I still remember being one of over 90,000 fans in the Rose Bowl for the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final when the US team won the title. The captain of that side was Carla Overbeck, who I fortunately had the chance to work with during my time playing soccer at Duke University. She was the assistant coach of our team and has always been someone that I’ve looked up to for help and advice. 

How was the feeling when they called you to join the national team?
When I got called up for New Zealand for the first time it meant so much to me. It really felt like I was going back to my roots. Even though I’d lived in the US for most of my life I felt so proud to be representing New Zealand and making my whole family proud. There is no better feeling than playing in a full stadium representing your country and knowing that there are thousands of people back home cheering us on!