Youngsters meet local footballers
Players from the WaiBOP United football team made a flying visit to the Matamata Domain on Thursday.
About 25 young soccer players showed up to collect autographs and have a kick round with Liam Higgins, Andy McNeil, and Matamata’s Scott Hilliar.
Hilliar, 19, is studying sport and leisure at Waikato University and was selected for the team following a standout season with Melville United.
‘‘[Being selected] was sort of my main goal for the season so I felt I was quite privileged to sign with them,’’ he said.
Head coach Peter Smith said he was a capable young player and already something of a ‘‘media darling’’.
The talented midfielder also competes nationally and internationally in athletics and holds the New Zealand Men’s U20 800m title.
He was selected this year to receive the prestigious Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship for his achievements in both sport and academics.
The scholarship covers course fees and Hilliar will have specialist coaching, and attend personal development and leadership programmes.
Hilliar said it was quite nerveracking returning to Matamata as a WaiBOP player.
‘‘But I do enjoy coming back to the Matamata club and I know quite a lot of people here, so it’s good to catch up and find out how other people are going with their football.’’
Young fans: Ashlynn Good, 9, and Mya Folau, 8, were excited to meet local player Scott Hilliar.
Practice makes perfect: WaiBOP United player Liam Higgins runs drills with Harry Scott, 7.