Footballer off on whirlwind trip
Jonty Bilderbeck is looking forward to a Florida Christmas.
The Whitby 14-year-old has had a busy year of football, turning out for Western Suburbs, the Wellington federation side and Wellington Tornadoes.
He leaves next month with the Tornadoes on a tour of the United States, playing up to 20 games from Orlando to Los Angeles.
It’s a huge opportunity to be spotted by universities and professional clubs in the US, and, having never travelling further than Australia before, Jonty can’t wait to get on the plane.
‘‘I know it’s going to be a great experience, seeing what other types of football are like, playing the LA Galaxy’s academy team will just be awesome.
‘‘We’ll go to school for a day and are billeted out in LA, so we’ll get some real insights.’’
He expects the skill level and physicality to be high, but the striker can’t wait to test himself against elite players.
Jonty leaves with his family on December 14 but will meet up with the Tornadoes in Orlando, Florida, on Christmas Eve.
The biggest headache is fitting everything he needs into one sports bag.
There’s not an evening or weekend that goes by without something to do with football for the teenager.
And each team he turns out for has him playing a different position – up front for the Tornadoes, in centre midfield for Wests and a defender for his federation team.
‘‘I like playing in different parts of the pitch,’’ Jonty says.
‘‘I want to score goals but when you’re at the back you’ve got the whole field in front of you to make runs and be a playmaker.’’
Jonty is in year 10 at St Pat’s Silverstream and will play football for his school and Wests’ under-17 team next year.
Along with performing well for those sides, his chief aim for 2013 is selection into Wellington’s National Talent Centre – and he’s keeping one eye on the 2015 Under-17 World Cup in Chile.
Jonty’s off: Jonty Bilderbeck is the only Porirua player to be selected for the Wellington Tornadoes, who have
a tour of the USA this summer.