Enthusiastic volleyball club
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.’’
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.