The under-20 World Cup hasn’t started yet but already New Zealand goalkeeper Oliver Sail feels on top of the world.
Not only is the 19-year-old loving every moment of being in camp with his under-20 international team mates, he yesterday took another big step towards achieving his ambition of playing football for a living.
Sail, who has been training regularly with the Wellington Phoenix first team squad this season and playing for the club’s reserve side, signed a two-year contract under the ASB Premiership Contracted Player category which is the equivalent of a National Youth League contract for Australian A-League players.
“It came as a complete surprise and I am really buzzing at the moment,” Sail said.
“It doesn’t seem real but when I look at the contract I know it is.
“The big thing is that it provides me with security and is a big weight off my shoulders because I want to keep progressing toward being a professional footballer.
“Everything has happened so quickly, but I can now focus on playing good football and the priority is helping the New Zealand team make its mark at the World Cup.”
Sail said the team was progressing every day and had performed well in its warm up games.
“We were a bit unlucky to lose against Honduras and the belief that we can perform well is there,” he said.
“I’m feeling confident and training with the Phoenix senior players every day has helped me prepare for this challenge.
“Working with Mossy (Glen Moss) has been fantastic because I believe he is New Zealand’s best ever keeper.
“He is always willing to give me advice and lets me know if I am not doing something well.
“I also owe a lot to goalkeeping coach Jonathan Gould who I worked with every day till he moved to West Bromwich Albion, and now Des Buckingham is keeping me on my toes.”