Renee Holmes grew up wanting to be a Football Fern. The teenager knew she would have to play against the men to realise her dream. But what she didn’t realise was there were those who'd say she would “ruin the culture" of the game if she did so. All of her family in Gisborne played football - she's one of six siblings - and Holmes had a natural aptitude for the game. The schoolgirl even moved away from her family to live in Auckland in Year 11 to gain more football experience. “I went to Massey High because they have a soccer programme,” she says. “I had an awesome year and I would’ve stayed on, but I was there for a purpose.” She made the New Zealand U17 women’s team and played in the national league that year. But then Holmes realised how important family was, and moved back to Gisborne to finish her last two years of school. After getting approval to play in the men’s local soccer competition in her hometown, she laced up with teammates on a Saturday morning and managed to come away with a win in her first match. Click the link to read more.