Wellington Phoenix and Lower Hutt City AFC announce that they have entered into a strategic partnership to work together in the youth development space.
The partnership will see the two clubs partner on player development with Phoenix Academy youth players playing in Capital Football’s winter competitions in Lower Hutt City AFC teams.
Phoenix General Manager David Dome said that the initiative is an important step in the further development of the country’s young footballing talent.
"The club’s Academy has been the A-League’s most successful in developing and bringing through the very best in young talent.
"Our first team is brimming with Academy graduates – there is Sarpreet Singh and Liberato Cacace of course - but there are Academy graduates all over the world now doing all sorts of amazing things in their football and scholastic careers.
"The problem we now have – and it’s a good problem – is that the Academy is growing so quickly that we have run out of training resources in Wellington.
"We need grounds, we need teams to play through and we need a structure around which we can continue to grow and expand the Academy and bring through the next generation of professional footballer.
"This alliance with Lower Hutt City AFC will enable us to resource the Academy and our young development players to get the competitive game time they need."
Lower Hutt City AFC Chairman, Kevin Nash, said that the association with the Phoenix was win-win for both Clubs.
"When we were able to consider this opportunity with the key people within the club, it become an exciting prospect as our club has traditionally focused on young local talent.
"The thought of giving the next generation of players this opportunity was too good to miss, so here we are today with what we see as a new beginning."
Capital Football, the local football federation which controls the competition the teams will play in, understands the benefits of the partnership for football in the region and has been kept informed throughout the development of the partnership.
Lower Hutt AFC At A Glance:
• Lower Hutt City AFC will celebrate their centenary in 2021;
• The club will move into their new shared clubrooms at Fraser Park for season 2019 with 7 playing surfaces, 2 training pitches including 1 artificial surface and 2 indoor facilities;
• Lower Hutt City AFC has reached three National Under 19 finals at Napier in 2010, 2011 and 2012, winning the finals in 2011 and 2012;
• Lower Hutt City AFC reached the Chatham Cup Final finishing runners-up in 2012, with a team containing many younger players;
• In 2018 the club had 4 players appearing in both the summer National Youth and ISPS Handa leagues.