Sa­cred Heart tak­ing on the world’s best

Central Leader - - SITUATIONS VACANT - SAMHEWAT

Sa­cred Heart’s top foot­ball team will test them­selves against the world’s best in the Czech Repub­lic this year.

The first XI team will de­part on May 15 to con­test the In­ter­na­tional School Sport Fed­er­a­tion’s World Schools Cham­pi­onships in Prague.

They’re the first New Zealand team to ever com­pete in the tour­na­ment and will take on the best high school sides from foot­ballpow­er­house na­tions like Ger­many, Brazil, France, and Bel­gium.

Led by cur­rent New Zealand U17 coach Danny Hay, the Sa­cred Heart boys will match up against 23 other school teams with the hope of mak­ing the na­tion proud.

Hay said it was a great op­por­tu­nity for the boys to rep­re­sent the coun­try on the world stage.

‘‘Be­ing the first team to go over and par­tic­i­pate from New Zealand is pretty ex­cit­ing but there is a fair amount of re­spon­si­bil­ity in that as well,’’ Hay said.

‘‘Even though we’re a school team, we are rep­re­sent­ing this coun­try. We want to do well so that other teams will get in­vited back each year.’’

Rob Dy­mond, the team’s cap­tain and a year 13 stu­dent at Sa­cred Heart, is no stranger to trav­el­ling over­seas - be­ing ex­posed to foot­ball in the United States and Eng­land.

For him, the com­pe­ti­tion will be a test for a lot of the play­ers who haven’t played that level of foot­ball be­fore.

‘‘It’s quite hard to know what the other team’s are go­ing to be like but we are hop­ing to be com­pet­i­tive,’’ he said.

The team will miss close to three weeks of school when they de­part. While this presents a dif­fer­ent sort of chal­lenge for the boys, Hay said the school had been very gen­er­ous in giv­ing the team time off.

‘‘Be­ing ex­posed to true world class com­pe­ti­tion is an op­por­tu­nity that is few and far be­tween,’’ he said.

‘‘This chance is enor­mous and it’s not lost on the play­ers.

‘‘There’s an­other chal­lenge for the boys in mak­ing sure they don’t get be­hind in their school work, but the op­por­tu­nity to go over and play against the world’s best is some­thing we couldn’t turn down.’’

De­spite the ob­vi­ous ben­e­fits, the team is still well in need of fund­ing.

The trip is ex­pected to cost the play­ers around $5500 each, with a Givealit­tle page set up in sup­port.

SAM HEWAT/FAIR­FAX NZ

The Sa­cred Heart Col­lege first XI foot­ball team will travel to Prague in May to com­pete against the world’s top high school teams.

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