Sam Child (nee Charlton) has announced her decision to retire from international hockey at the culmination of the FIH Nations Cup tonight.


Making her debut against Australia as a teenager in 2010, Child will end her career on 277 caps when she takes to the field for the last time against Chile overnight – putting her third most all time caps for NZ women and cementing her legacy as one of the all-time greats.


Bringing strong game intelligence and awareness Eddy, as she is affectionately known, has been the engine room of the Black Sticks Women for much of her career, with her skills as an effective communicator helping her become a world class master of defensive and counter control.


In her career, Child represented New Zealand at three Olympic Games; London; Rio; and Tokyo, and was part of the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal winning side and 2014 bronze medal winning side.


On her decision to retire she says “it was difficult, this team has given lots to my life over the last 14 years and I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like I have given enough back.


“And I think that’s what kind of drove me to play a couple more games [after the Olympic Qualifiers]. I really wanted to be a part of helping the team drive forward after such a big loss that we had earlier in the year.


“I’ve been really privileged to have so many highlights along the way. One of my most memorable would have to be winning gold in the Gold Coast. But also definitely the Olympic Games where we came fourth, both in London and Rio.


“I’m also incredibly grateful for all the people who have helped me on my journey, from all the great coaches and management to my friends and family who I wouldn’t have been able to do this without. In particular I’d like to thank everyone in the Black Sticks for their support in my transition back into hockey after having my twins.”


Former teammate Rose Keddell holds Child up as one of the greatest players to put on the black singlet. “To represent your country once is amazing, to do it for over fourteen years and almost 300 times is legendary.


“Sam is quite honestly the most dedicated, inspiring, hardworking athlete I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing alongside. She is an inspirational leader injecting professionalism into everything she does.


“For me personally, she was the player and person I looked up to in the team. You knew you’d be on the right path if you followed in her footsteps and I’m forever grateful to Sam for leading the way. A truly incredible player and friend who ends her career as one of the greats.”


Hockey New Zealand CEO Anthony Crummy also notes that Child has left a legacy on sport in NZ, “I know Sam has been an inspiration for many, whether it’s through her interactions with young players at club level, the school visits she’s done as an Olympian, or how she’s conducted herself on the world stage. Sam will be hugely missed by her teammates and the Black Sticks whanau.”


“It’s highly commendable to come back after such a disappointment to help bring the next generation through and that is a testament to her character. We wish her, Marcus, and their boys all the best for what’s next.”


Looking ahead to the future Child says she’s just ready for more family time, “sometimes I feel like I could just play for this team forever. But now feels like the right time for me and my body, but most importantly, my family.


“They’ve dropped everything for me to be here and look after my twin boys at home. So I’m really excited to spend some really quality time with my boys away from the hockey turf.”                        

New Zealand

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