En­thu­si­as­tic vol­ley­ball club

Central Leader - - SPORT - By ALAS­TAIR LYNN

The Auck­land Vol­ley­ball Academy has set up camp at One Tree Hill Col­lege and is putting out a call for new play­ers to join its ranks.

With Dutch for­mer top-level player and coach Mark Derk­sen at the helm, the new kids on the block are set­ting their sights high.

‘‘If we get this group con­tin­u­ing then within the next three sea­sons we will be cham­pi­ons in New Zealand.’’

Two games into the sea­son the club is cur­rently field­ing one men’s team but with a ‘‘good pool of tal­ent’’ Derk­sen hopes to see the club grow.

Derk­sen came to New Zealand three years ago with 20 years ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing and coach­ing in some of the top vol­ley­ball leagues in the Nether­lands.

‘‘Kids in the Nether­lands stick with vol­ley­ball all-year round.

‘‘I didn’t re­ally get that feel­ing here,’’ he says.

Frus­trated by a lack of com­pet­i­tive op­por­tu­ni­ties for kids want­ing to pur­sue the sport he loves, Derk­sen de­cided to take mat­ters into his own hands.

‘‘There were kids who wanted to do more and play more,’’ he says.

‘‘For a lot of them na­tion­als in school is the high­est level they get to and af­ter that there are only so­cial teams which can be hard to get into.

‘‘There’s not a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties for young kids to start club vol­ley­ball af­ter school.’’

The Auck­land Vol­ley­ball Academy was founded on April 1.

Train­ing has been on­go­ing since last sum­mer, how­ever, start­ing a whole new club from scratch is not an easy task.

With other win­ter sports get­ting into full swing some lo­gis­ti­cal mat­ters have been an is­sue.

‘‘It’s a very good team but it’s hard to get the full team that we ac­tu­ally need for vol­ley­ball to work.

‘‘We have a group now around 30 boys.

‘‘They can’t all com­mit fully to vol­ley­ball right now but as time goes on we will be able to es­tab­lish a ded­i­cated team.’’

From the pool of tal­ent sit­ting in cen­tral Auck­land schools, Derk­sen feels his new club could even­tu­ally field five women’s and four men’s teams.

Kids from all over the area have shown they are keen to get in­volved and the schools are right be­hind them.

‘‘The col­leges want to help,’’ Derk­sen says.

‘‘They’re get­ting right be­hind us and help­ing with the fa­cil­i­ties and trans­port.’’

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Auck­land Vol­ley­ball Academy play­ers Vil­iami Ahio, Sam Broad­head, Taifeni Latu, Scotty Gra­ham, John Vea, Nor­man Ton­gotea and Sam Lau­tuu are gear­ing up for an ex­plo­sive first sea­son.

A new Auck­land vol­ley­ball club is giv­ing boys a world of new op­por­tu­ni­ties to play.

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