Higher goals for teen scorer

South Waikato News - - SPORT -

Toko­roa teen Isaac Ni­chol­son has long dreamed of play­ing foot­ball for his coun­try – but his se­lec­tion came sooner than ex­pected.

The Hamil­ton Boys’ High School stu­dent has been picked for the New Zealand U15 Sec­ondary Schools Foot­ball team.

‘‘I can’t wait to go over­seas and play soc­cer at this level. The chance to play for New Zealand and wear a New Zealand uni­form is some­thing I have al­ways dreamed about – but I didn’t think it would hap­pen this early in my ca­reer.’’

Isaac was in­vited dur­ing the last school hol­i­days to at­tend tri­als for the squad in Auck­land.

‘‘It was a bit out of the blue. At first I thought some­one was play­ing a joke on me, but three other mem­bers of my team had been rung up as well, so I knew it was for real.’’

That team is Hamil­ton Boys Colts A which took out the Waikato sec­ondary school’s First Di­vi­sion by a sig­nif­i­cant points mar­gin, as well as win­ning the ju­nior boys knock-out cup.

Isaac was the sec­ond high­est goal-scorer of the team – no mean feat con­sid­er­ing he plays half the time in left back po­si­tion.

Tri­als were held both in the North and South Is­lands and the squad con­sists of 18 play­ers, in­clud­ing all four who tri­alled from Hamil­ton Boys’ High.

The New Zealand U15 team will de­part for a tour of Singapore and Malaysia in a fort­night. There they will play six games of foot­ball over nine days.

Isaac started play­ing soc­cer at Toko­roa North School, and moved on to play for the newly formed Toko­roa AFC Hot Shots, trav­el­ling all over the Waikato in the ju­nior clubs league.

He cred­its his start in and pas­sion for the game to his coach and men­tor Mark Cooper who has had huge faith in him from the be­gin­ning, and was in­stru­men­tal in Isaac be­ing se­lected for Waikato age group squads.

For these he and other team mem­bers had to travel at least once a week to Hamil­ton for train­ing and com­pe­ti­tion, which was one rea­son that prompted Isaac to head to Hamil­ton Boys’ for his high school years.

Dur­ing his years at Toko­roa, Isaac was coached by Mark, as well as Dave Chitty and Dar­ren Manthey – all whom he would like to thank for the time and ef­fort given to him and the rest of the Toko­roa Hot Shots.

To help him get to Singapore and Malaysia, Isaac ap­plied for and re­ceived as­sis­tance from the Toko­roa Su­pers­ports com­mit­tee, some­thing he is also grate­ful for.

‘‘This is go­ing to be the ex­pe­ri­ence of my life­time.’’

SOC­CER STAR: Isaac Ni­chol­son started his foot­ball ca­reer in Toko­roa, and will now tour Asia with a New Zealand age group side.

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