USA women’s football team to play Football Ferns in Wellington and Auckland before World Cup

New Zealand Football has confirmed the world champion United States women’s national team will visit in January for two blockbuster matches against the Football Ferns.

The games at Wellington’s Sky Stadium on January 18 and Auckland’s Eden Park on January 21 (both at 4pm) will kick off a massive year for women’s football in New Zealand, with the World Cup taking place here and in Australia in July and August.

Luring the most successful team in women’s football to New Zealand six months out from the global showpiece is a massive coup for NZ Football and highlights the benefits of hosting the World Cup.

Alex Morgan and Christen Press celebrate a US goal against the Football Ferns during their match at the Tokyo Olympics.

The four-time world champions have never played here before but will use the trip to familiarise themselves with the cities where they will play their three World Cup group games after being drawn in group E alongside the Netherlands, Vietnam and a yet to be confirmed opponent.

An early chance to build some hype for the World Cup six months out from the opening game on July 20, NZ Football will be aiming to attract record crowds for the two afternoon fixtures, well in excess of the current record for a Football Ferns home game of 7236.

Tickets have been set at the affordable price of $20 for adults and $5 for kids.

Although the Wellington game kicks off at 4pm on a weekday it will be played during the school holidays.

Aussie Faalele made to wait; twist as Mayfield trade talks with Panthers ‘stall’ — NFL Draft Wrap

Offensive lineman Daniel Faalele was projected as a possible second-round pick but the Australian now have to wait until at least Sunday to be selected.

Baker Mayfield’s future is still up in the air. Jason Miller/Getty Images/AFP

The second and third rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft have now passed, with Faalele not picked up but he among with others will be great value picks on Sunday.

In other news, Baker Mayfield may not be on the board in the 2022 NFL Draft, but he’s certainly one of the buzziest names heading into the second and third round.

“The Baker Mayfield question looms over this Draft,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Saturday [AEST].

Mayfield, currently the odd-man-out on the Browns’ quarterback carousel after the team signed Deshaun Watson, is said to be drawing interest around the league, according to Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot.

“A handful of teams have expressed interest in trading for Baker Mayfield,” Cabot reported, including the quarterback-needy Panthers, who Mayfield, 27, has been linked to in the past.

The Panthers though traded up on Saturday to select Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral in a move that has seen Mayfield trade talks “stall” according to Rapoport.

“It means the Baker Mayfield talks have stalled. The Carolina Panthers football-wise thought Matt Corral had the best film hands down.”

As for other suitors, the Seahawks, an organisation also loosely tied to Mayfield, could potentially be a team in the market.

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Legendary QB drops major career hint after quitting analyst role

Could Drew Brees be plotting a Tom Brady-style return to the NFL?

Brees holds the NFL record for most career passing yards. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)Hours after The Post’s Andrew Marchand reported that Brees was done at NBC after just one season as a studio and game analyst, the former Saints quarterback, 42, responded to the story on Twitter, appearing to hint that he could possibly come out of retirement.

“I may work for NBC, I may play football again, I may focus on business and philanthropy, I may train for the pickleball tour, senior golf tour, coach my kids or all of the above. I’ll let you know.”

Brees announced his retirement last March after the 2020-21 season, which included a message to fans that he would transition into the broadcast world as an analyst for NBC Sports.

He retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in career passing yards (80,358).