The successful partnership between fans and professionals that launched the career of Marco Rojas is set to continue under the new Wellington Phoenix owners Welnix, with the football club and the fan club announcing together today that the Retro Ricki Youth Scholarship will continue in season 2011/12.
2009 winner Marco Rojas, now a player for Melbourne Victory, is still grateful for the opportunity afforded to him by Yellow Fever fans:
“It’s certainly something that helped me. I was playing for Hamilton Wanderers at the Napier U19 tournament one minute, and then flying to Wellington for a trial the next. It opened the door for me for sure.”
The scholarship provides one player with a week-long trial at the Wellington Phoenix, with all expenses paid for by Yellow Fever fans.
“A lot of the Fever fans have played a bit, and we’ve even had a few international players like Andy Barron in the Fever Zone. So the fans often know about the young players who are out there,” says Yellow Fever founder Mike Greene.
“It’s a chance for us to contribute in a bit of a different way. We think this is the only sort of thing like this in the world, so it’s pretty unique.”
Wellington Phoenix CEO Nathan Greenham says the Phoenix are excited about the potential the scholarship has.
“There-s no doubt Yellow Fever-s Youth Scholarship has the potential to find exciting talent wherever it may be in New Zealand. We-re looking forward to seeing a worthy recipient again put forward this year”.
Fever scouts will be on the sidelines over Labour Weekend’s U19 tournament in Napier, and will then look for future stars in this summer’s ASB Premiership and National Youth League. Yellow Fever fans can also nominate players they know and rate via the fan club’s website forums at www.yellowfever.co.nz.
Wellington Phoenix head coach Ricki Herbert and Fever scouts will discuss a shortlist before making an offer to one lucky youngster.
The scholarship winner’s trial is likely to be in December of 2011.