The Wellington Phoenix and Asia Pacific Football Academy (APFA) have joined forces to develop the next generation of football talent in New Zealand.
Based in Christchurch, the APFA is an intensive, live-in programme aimed at youth between 13 and 17 that trains aspiring footballers to the highest technical standard.
Under the joint agreement the Phoenix will look to channel identified young footballers between 13 and 17 to the APFA where they will be trained under a programme specifically designed by Phoenix and APFA coaches.
Wellington Phoenix General Manager David Dome said the partnership was crucial to the on-going development of the Club.
“The directives from the owners of the Club have been clear – we need to continue to invest and develop the next generation of football players if this Club is going to challenge in the A-League,” Dome said.
“This initiative is the next part of that process. If the Wellington-based Football School of Excellence based around Team Wellington is at the top of the academy structure, then this partnership with APFA is the next level down.
“The APFA meets all our criteria for being able to develop top quality football players with the best technical skills, while also being able to meet their educational and development needs outside football.
“We are extremely pleased that we have concluded this initial agreement and are looking to expand our academy structure to as many centres as make sense in the future”.
APFA Managing Director Andy Smith said his Academy was thrilled to have the association with the Phoenix.
“We are excited to have agreed this partnership with the Wellington Phoenix,” Smith said.
“APFA has been working successfully with young New Zealand players for a number of years and often many career pathways in football led overseas.
“This initiative now offers talented young domestic players a significant new onshore opportunity for them to work towards their dream of playing professional football.”