New Zealand are OFC Nations Cup champions. Featuring Quakes rookie defender - third-round draft pick Kip Colvey - the All Whites only conceded one single goal throughout their entire tournament. June 11’s final saw 120 minutes of scoreless but back-and-forth action between the host nation Papua New Guinea & Colvey’s squad, pushing them to a penalty shootout with an anxious PNG audience. New Zealand lifted the trophy in the end, winning 4-2 on penalties & making Colvey’s first senior international tournament a glowing success, as it qualified them for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. We chatted with Kip just after the win to get the full report on his experience.
SJEarthquakes.com: How much of a whirlwind has this last month been for you?
Kip Colvey: It's been pretty wild. There's been a lot of travel involved. But that's all part of it and I'm enjoying the new experiences.
SJEQ: Not only did you make your senior team debut recently, but you quickly became a regular starter during the competition. Did you expect that?
KC: Yes and no. Any time you are with a team you want to be starting and making an impact, but this is my first time in the squad so I thought I would've had to spend more time catching up.
SJEQ: What experiences have you gained from the Nations Cup and how do you think it will help you when you return to San Jose?
KC: Playing international football has been an eye-opener. The teams here play with so much intensity and pride because there is so much on the line in each game. Just being in a situation where you either win or you're out of the tournament has been an experience that I think will help me back in MLS.
SJEQ: Describe the buildup to the final. What was preparation like?
KC: It was intense, with playing the host nation there was a lot of excitement around the game. But we just tried to prepare for it like any other match. We didn't change anything in terms of our preparation.
SJEQ: What were your coach’s words to you right before you walked out?
KC: His words were more just reminders of tactical pieces of information and encouragement.
SJEQ: Talk about the final game a bit, 120 minutes and no score. Did you feel a goal coming at all or were penalties the only way to separate you and Papua New Guinea?
KC: It was a difficult game. I thought that we should have had a goal. We had a few half chances that should have been converted. But credit to PNG, they made it really difficult for us.
SJEQ: Many were praising your defensive work in the final, especially a vital tackle in the defensive third during extra time to keep the game level. How did you feel your form progressed throughout the tournament?
KC: I’ve become more comfortable in the system and with my teammates with each game. It showed as we only conceded 1 goal throughout the whole tournament.
SJEQ: How did it feel to win that final after all of that?
KC: It’s the best feeling. Especially knowing all of the work and suffering that the team has gone through to get to this point. Nothing can compare to lifting the trophy at the end of the tournament.