Wellington Phoenix Soccer School has a successful track record when it comes to producing local talent.
While they focus on providing young talent to New Zealand’s only professional team, the Wellington Phoenix, with nine players featuring for them over the summer in the reserve teams – they have also seen graduates receive contracts overseas.
Most notably, former elite school graduates Michael Fitzgerald, who plies his trade for Albirex Niigata in Japan, and Liam Jordan, who recently signed a five-year deal with Portuguese giants, Sporting Lisbon.
Now the school is launching a programme that hopes to produce the same success for female soccer players in New Zealand.
The schools’ director, Leigh Kenyon, believes the rising popularity of the women’s game means the timing couldn’t be better.
“The women’s game is starting to flourish around the world, and there are opportunities both locally, with the Football Ferns national team, and internationally, with professional teams, and scholarships in America,” he says.
The Wellington Phoenix Soccer School aims to foster female players of all abilities, and they have specific plans to achieve this, Mr Kenyon explains.
“What makes this offering unique, is the fact we are going to use current Football Fern players as coaches, and role models.”
He adds: “We feel it will be a brilliant opportunity for young girls to come along, meet their heroes, then train under them, the skills they learn here will benefit local clubs when their players return.”
The coaches Mr Kenyon is talking about are current Football Fern players, Jasmine Pereira and Meikayla Moore.
Fresh from representing New Zealand at the Rio Olympics, Jasmine and Meikayla are excited to inspire a new batch of female talent.
When asked about her new role, Meikayla said: “I look forward to passing on the knowledge I have learnt since being a part of the Football Ferns environment. Hopefully, I can inspire them to become future Football Ferns.
“I can’t wait to give back, I’m very excited about this opportunity, and I hope the young girls are too!”
The programme (located in Auckland) is open to females aged from 5 to 12 years old, starting in the Term 3 school holidays on September 26, with more dates to follow.
For more information, and to apply, click on the following link wpss.org.nz.