Eileish Hayes | Sport2018
Eileish’s family is football mad, with uncle Brian playing both professionally and for the All Whites and dad Dave captaining the Waikato side, so it was only right that at the age of five she started playing as well. She fell in love with the game after playing in all boy’s teams until she was 15 and has always set her sights on playing professional football ever since she was 7 years old. Eileish had many role models growing up however she has credited the influences of Mike Groom, the founder of ‘Samba Soccer’ and Futsal in New Zealand, her 8th grade coach Merv Williams and also her brother, Liam, as being the big impacters on her passion for the game. After she was banned from the AIMS games in 2009 for being a girl and took a stand and dressed as a boy in the tournament just to play the game she loved, Eileish has always been passionate about wanting to promote female football in both the Waikato and in New Zealand, and has started making moves in the coaching community for WaiBOP football. In 2015 Eileish was awarded the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship at the University of Waikato and has thrived under the pressure of being both a full-time athlete and and student. In 2015 also, Eileish’s hard work paid off when she was included in the New Zealand Under 20 Women’s team which competed at the Oceania Football Championsips/ FIFA U20 World Cup Qualifiers. After 2 years of dedication of full-time studies, commuting to Auckland 3-6 times per week and full-time training for the New Zealand Under 20 Team, she was awarded with her inclusion in the NZ U20 FIFA World Cup Squad, which competed at the FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea in November 2016. Eileish’s long term goals include playing for the New Zealand Football Ferns at both a FIFA World Cup and an Olympics, and also playing professional football overseas in Europe.