Melville Players Star at National Tournament
A host of Melville United’s brightest young Academy players recently returned from starring roles at the New Zealand Football National Age Group tournament (NAGT) in Wellington.
The annual event saw the nation’s best U14, U15, and U16 players square up against each other over a five day period with players representing their local federation in teams that have been identified and selected over the course of the 2018 season.
Melville United Academy players featured heavily across the WaiBOP representative teams in particular in the U15 boys team that featured no less than 13 Academy products.
Melville United Head Coach and Academy Director Sam Wilkinson was present at the NAGT in his capacity as the Assistant Coach of the New Zealand U17 men’s national team, and was suitably impressed with the performance of the Melville players.
“It was fantastic to see so many of our Academy players across the WaiBOP boys and girls teams. Our players were standouts in many of the games and the feedback from the national staff about them was very positive.”
The Melville United Academy was formed in 2016 and Wilkinson believes the success of the players at the NAGT is evidence of the positive environment it has created for local young players.
“We have a really knowledgeable and experienced coaching staff on the Academy, but ultimately it’s the players that do the work. They’ve all still got an awful lot to do if they want a career in the game but seeing them perform so well on a national level is encouraging to see.”
While all Melville United players performed with distinction at the event, three Academy players were recognised in the tournament teams for their respective age groups; in Josh Tollervey (U14), Josh Galletly (U15) and Jerson Lagos (U16).
Galletly also capped off a fine week by being named U15player of the tournament, the 15-year-old made history earlier in the year when he took the field for Melville United in NRFL Northern Division One action becoming the youngest player in the club’s history to do so.
Elsewhere, U14 custodian Conor Jamieson was awarded the golden glove award for the most clean sheets in his age group.
The NAGT was the last official football event of the year for the Academy players and coaches having earned a well-deserved one month break.
Wilkinson had recently returned from an overseas experience in the UK where he visited a number of Academy programmes and facilities and will look to implement some of the ideas and methods observed in the 2019 programme.
The Melville United Academy programme kicks off with a visit to Gower Park from The FA’s Aaron Danks, who was instrumental in England’s FIFA U20 World Cup win in 2017.
Melville United Academy – WaiBOP NAGT 2018 Representatives:
U14 Boys – Cayden Buitendach, Conor Jamieson, Bee Hong, Kyran Lockwood, Josh Tollervey, Ben Wallace
U14 Girls – Alexa Harvey, Trinaka Kenny, Lydia Marsters, Charlotte Ulyatt
U15 Boys – Musayab Ali, Campbell Brown, Fin Conchie, Josh Galletly, Ryen Lawrence, Sean Leadley, Lemuel Le Hane, Aarun Lim, Braydon Mills, Edward Prestidge-King, Thomas Walters, Jomig Wenceslao, Dylan Williams
U16 Boys – Meshach Humby, Jerson Lagos, Blake Wisnewski