The Wellington United first team, sourced from the Wellington Phoenix’s Football Academy and Football School of Excellence, has started the winter season with a high scoring 7 – 4 win over Upper Hutt in Capital Premier at Newtown Park on Good Friday.
Football School of Excellence player Cherbel Khoucaba bagged three, Academy players James McGarry two, Joe Bell one, while new Football School of Excellence player Logan Rogerson also scored on debut for the Club.
Wellington United first team coach Andy Hedge said it was an encouraging start to the winter season for the team which had an average age of just 16 ½ years old.
“The great majority of players in the Wellington United first team are from the Phoenix’ Academy.
“These are young players playing in an adult competition and it shows that there is some real quality youth coming through that system.
“I was pleased with how they played against Upper Hutt and am looking forward to seeing how we progress through the rest of the Capital Premier season.”
Wellington Phoenix Academy Head Coach Jess Ibrom said it is exciting to see these youth players doing so well and performing so well in an adult competition.
“Some of the these players like James McGarry and Joe Bell have been working with in the Academy for two years since the Academy was established.
“James McGarry, Joe Bell has been with us even longer and was part of Asia Pacific Football Academy in Christchurch before it relocated to Wellington to become the Phoenix’s Academy.
“The programme is intensive and the players are really put through their paces both academically and from a football perspective – and it’s extremely rewarding to see them doing so well as they continue to improve and progress through their pathway.”
The Academy, which is based out of Scots College in Wellington, is providing five players to the New Zealand U17 training camp in April - Joe Bell, Ben Stroud, Sam Wilson, James McGarry and recent recruit Sapreet Singh - while two additional players in Rauiri Cahil-Fleury and United’s debutant Logan Rogerson are members of the Phoenix’s Football School of Excellence.
Wellington United firsts next game is Easter Monday 6 April v Petone FC, Petone Memorial at 5pm.