Some young bare-footed Phoenix fans will attend an open training session with New Zealand’s only professional football club in Auckland today, thanks to the club and All Whites’ captain and West Ham United star, Winston Reid.
Some young bare-footed Phoenix fans will attend an open training session with New Zealand-s only professional football club in Auckland today, thanks to the club and All Whites- captain and West Ham United star, Winston Reid.
The Maori and Pacific Island children are from the decile one, Kelvin Road School in Papakura.
“They-re desperate to play football but a lack of money and support means they can-t field a team”, said supporter and former All White, Phillip Parker.
The children will be treated to new boots provided by Wellington Phoenix partner Bank Shoes, and they will also get to kick a ball around with some of the Phoenix players at the Eastern Suburbs- grounds at 3.30pm on Friday June 20th.
The Phoenix have partnered with Winston Reid and the Aotearoa Footballers- Charitable Trust in the lead up to the Carlsberg Football United Tour that features English Premier League sides West Ham United and Newcastle United and the A-League-s Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC.
Winston Reid who is of Maori descent, set up the Charitable Trust following the All White-s 2010 World Cup campaign with three other All Whites of Maori descent (Leo Bertos, Jeremy Christie and Rory Fallon).
The aim of the trust is to encourage more Maori and Pacific island children to play football.
“We managed to get 50 kids into football who-d never played before in 2011 and we went on to win two tournaments but this year, sadly there-s no more support.
This gives these kids new hope now”, said Parker.
The Phoenix is using the Auckland training opportunity to prepare for their new season and the clash against Reid-s West Ham United at Eden Park on July 23rd.
The Auckland game is part of the Football United Tour where Sydney FC will play Newcastle United in Dunedin on July 22 as well as a double header in Wellington on July 26th when the Phoenix play Newcastle and Sydney FC goes head to head with West Ham United. Get your early bird tickets here before the prices rise on Sunday.