Foot­ball academy taps into lo­cal tal­ent

South Waikato News - - Your Local News - LUKE KIRKEBY

A South Waikato foot­ball academy will be launched in 2018 of­fer­ing a big boost to col­lege tal­ent.

Toko­roa AFC coaches Dean Tereu and Chris Teague have been in talks with Toko­roa High School prin­ci­pal Wil­liam (Wil­lie) Ford about es­tab­lish­ing the club run academy for Year 9-13 stu­dents as a way of nur­tur­ing lo­cal tal­ent.

Tereu, who played for the Cook Is­lands na­tional foot­ball team from 1998 to 2002 and who has just seen the lo­cal men’s team he coaches pro­moted to WAIBOP Fed­er­a­tion Pre­mier­ship level, said now was the right time.

‘‘There is a grow­ing core group of foot­ball-crazy kids com­ing through but un­til now it’s been a ne­glected area in the town,’’ he said.

‘‘We are a ‘‘league town’’ but what peo­ple don’t re­alise is there are prob­a­bly more kids that play foot­ball than league and rugby com­bined and they are re­ally tal­ented and nat­u­rally gifted.’’

Tereu, who also works at Toko­roa High School along with Teague, said part­ner­ing with the col­lege made sense.

‘‘Both the men’s and women’s coaches teach at Toko­roa High School so we sat down and thought well we have got the coaches here we might as well make the most of it in terms of the young kids com­ing through,’’ he said.

‘‘The un­writ­ten rule has al­ways been that you play for the school but in terms of foot­ball that is not the best path­way for the peo­ple in this town, the best path­way is to get good coach­ing and play for the club and look to make rep’ teams through that.’’

‘‘Wil­lie has been re­ally good and has said take them down to the club, train them and make them bet­ter play­ers as he sees that as a bet­ter path­way rather than forc­ing them to play di­vi­sion five school rub­bish which is never go­ing to get them any­where.’’

He said while the stu­dents in­volved will con­tinue to take part in core school sub­jects, where pos­si­ble foot­ball will also be in­cor­po­rated into the cur­ricu­lum.

‘‘Peo­ple high up in ed­u­ca­tion have been look­ing at the sports in ed­u­ca­tion ethos which is ba­si­cally where you tap into a kid’s pas­sion for sport and teach all ar­eas of the cur­ricu­lum through sport. It is a way of us­ing their pas­sion in their learn­ing,’’ he said.

Tereu said the goal was to have at least two play­ing in the pre­mier­ship by the time they fin­ished school.

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