FC Nelson striker Aaryan Kumar and goalie Caden Cooley made a big impression at the Christchurch International Cup. Photo: Jonty Dine.

FC Nelson footballers stand out at Christchurch tournament

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It was a simple formula for FC Nelson at the Christchurch International Cup, striker Aaryan Kumar scored the goals while Caden Cooley defended them.

The pair joined more than 1000 players aged 8 to 14 from around New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific on July 8-12 for what is regarded as the premier junior football event in Australasia.

The young duo were awarded the Golden Gloves and Most Valuable Player at the tournament for their stellar performances on the pitch.

Caden conceded only three goals all tournament, the least number of any goalie, earning him the trophy.

He says he produced some special saves. “Our last game against FC Twenty 11 I had a lot of action, we only ended up losing on penalties.”

FC Nelson ended up being knocked out in the quarter-finals by an own goal.

“It was the same result as we had last year,” says Caden.

While he personally performed, Caden was disappointed not to take home a team trophy.

“I like to win.”

He says he hopes to return next year and go at least one better with a semi-final spot.
While Caden was busy protecting his team’s goal, Aaryan netted eight of his own at the other end.

The goal scoring machine’s exploits caught the attention of opposition coaches, who voted him the tournaments MVP. “I found out while we were driving back, I was pretty happy.”

Aaryan’s mother says he was so excited he nearly jumped out of the car.

He says not one of his eight goals stood out for him. “They were all special.”

He was also quick to point out it was not an individual achievement.

“It was a team effort.”

Both Aaryan and Caden say they aspire to play professional football one day, no matter what club it may be for.

Next up for the FC Nelson side is an academy tour of Auckland in September.