The Wellington Phoenix Football Academy today announced that All Whites Captain Winston Reid will sponsor two scholarships a year to the Academy.
The scholarships are for a full football and residential scholarship at Scots College. Scots College also contribute financially to the scholarship.
The first two inaugural winners of the Winston Reid scholarship are New Zealand U17 representatives Sapreet Singh and Max Mata, both of whom have featured as part of the Phoenix’ Sinopec pre-season programme to date.
Both Singh and Mata come out of the Phoenix Auckland Soccer School. Mata’s family Iwi are Nga Puhi and Tainui.
Wellington Phoenix General Manager David Dome said the partnership had its genesis in last year’s Football United Tour.
“When Winston was here with West Ham in July last year he expressed an interest in giving something back and helping promising New Zealand football talent,” Dome said.
“Sapreet and Max are both outstanding talents and have been part of our Wellington Phoenix Soccer School in Auckland.
“Both were also part of the our Fiji Airways Fiji pre-season tour where they really impressed – so much so that both players got game time with the first team.
“If we find the next Winston Reid out of all this then we’d all be very happy!”
Winston Reid said that it was very satisfying to be able to give something back to football in New Zealand.
“I am very proud of my heritage and country of birth,” the All Whites skipper said.
“I’ve worked hard to get where I am, but I’ve also been blessed in my career and this is in a small way my chance to give something back.
“I want to encourage and give a bit of a hand to those football players who don’t have too much and need a little bit of assistance along the way.
“We talked about this when I was in New Zealand and July and I’m really pleased to be able to announce this now.”