The New Zealand FIFA U17 squad has been revealed as numerous Wellington Phoenix Academy players are included for the upcoming tournament in the Solomon Islands.
The tournament will run from September 9th to 22nd and 20 players have been named by Head Coach, José Figueira, with nine currently involved in the Wellington Phoenix Academy.
Having previously worked with Figueria at U17 level, Phoenix Academy Director, Paul Temple, is excited by the amount of talent coming from the Wellington Phoenix Academy.
Temple will watch on with great pride when the U17s face their first opponents, Vanuatu, in the Solomon Islands next weekend.
“To have nine players selected for one national squad is unprecedented I believe, it’s nice for us because it confirms what we’re doing here is working."
Temple signals the amount of background work was key towards the development of these boys.
"With this particular age group, a lot of work went into the recruitment going back a year or two.
"Lots of people are involved in a players development before they arrive with us so we have to give credit to those clubs, I’m sure they will feel just as proud having played a key role in their career.
"We wanted to create the best environment that would enhance the progress of the boys and we’re seeing that now with these selections.
"This age group sometimes goes under the media radar but there are some fantastic kids in this age group, with real potential.
"They know the hard work continues on a daily basis but they are excited by it all." Temple said.
This announcement follows the achievement of Phoenix representation in the U20s triumph. Academy players and graduates, Ollie Whyte, Willem Ebbinge, Joe Bell and Zac Jones were all in the squad that claimed the U19 Championship in Tahiti.
Wellington Phoenix Academy Players in the New Zealand squad for OFC U16 Championship
Oskar van Hattum