Foot­baller off on whirl­wind trip

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

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.

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