With the Oceania Football Confederation's Olympic Qualifiers a month away, Matiu Workman investigates in a four-part feature just what has shaped the Football Ferns' revival over the last six years.
With the qualifiers done and dusted, Part Four of The Rise of the Football Ferns talks about to two of the side's future stars looking ahead to the Olympics and the techniques that have made the Under-17 side so successful.
PART FOUR: The future looks bright
Rosie White is a girl who has - almost on accident - typified New Zealand's rise over the last four months.
The name began to strike a chord with football fans with her first hat-trick, against Colombia in the Under-17 Women's World Cup held in her backyard in October 2008.
That run continued when, at the Under-20 Women's World Cup in Chile a month later, she struck her second consecutive World Cup hat trick to knock out the host nation.
More strong performances from the then-15-year-old saw her rise to the senior side in quick time, and she has been plying her trade at UCLA in America.
"Soccer is my life at the moment but obviously starting in 2008 with the Under-17 World Cup and the Under-20 World Cup set me in a good way, and being at UCLA has given me a new perspective and it has been really awesome.”
That perspective has seen her make positive strides for the 18-year-old, who is on the verge of finishing her first year at the highly-regarded university.
Her story is one that has become a trend for New Zealanders who go in search of professional contracts that proved elusive in years gone by.
Yet, it's when the girls arrive back in camp - sharing stories, reminiscing and laughing about moments gone by - that the real growth is seen.
"It's awesome coming together now that lots of the girls play overseas. It's so nice coming back into camp together and we have so much fun. We all get along so well – especially after doing so well in Cyprus.
"There's a really cool buzz and we're all feeling positive."
It's a buzz that has certainly excited coach Tony Readings. The man who replaced John Herdman at the helm of the senior women's team has continued to steer the side in a positive direction ahead of the Olympics and said it was down to the development of the women.
"I think they were all really good players before they went over - which is why they got the opportunities.
"For a lot of these girls they have been in this programme for five to six years. It's not overnight success - it has been a lot of hard work that's got them there.
"In the team we've got some young girls who are inexperienced and they're having to step up in these train sessions. They have to step up because they're playing against some players who are playing in the Bundesliga, the WPS - and it can only be good for their development.
"What they see is what they want to be in the future."
Holly Patterson was a ball kid when the Under-17 Women's World Cup took over New Zealand. Facing a tough decision choosing between athletics - a specialist in the 400metres - and football, it was watching the Japanese play in her native Hamilton which ended the dillemma.
Football was the winner