While its season hasn’t been so successful, Tasman United has had plenty of experience to draw on this year.
The side has imported a number of top talents with Englishmen Tom Hickey and Ryan Worrall at the forefront of a roster overhaul at the club.
Tom arrived in Nelson for a short stint with Richmond Athletic in May 2017 and enjoyed it so much, he knew he was coming back.
The tough-tackling midfielder was one of the first signed for the 2018-19 National League season and named captain before the pre-season game. He has many years of experience in non-league football with Hampton and Richmond, Wealdstone, and Met Police.
“It’s a real honour to be named captain, it’s a young group, so I am aware of the responsibility to lead them to best of my ability on and off the pitch.”
With pre-season results being shaky and a five loss start to the season, Tom was delighted to get off the mark with a fantastic home win against the Wellington Phoenix reserves.
“The team have worked hard, it’s a new group and a new coach, so naturally we will need some time. Apart from the first pre-season game against Canterbury, we knew we were not that far off.”
Tom joined Ryan Worrall at North Wellington FC in July and immediately struck up a partnership in midfield that helped lead the club to an unbeaten season, being crowned champions and winning Central League promotion.
Ryan had been at the Johnsonville club since April and always had an eye on Tasman United for the summer season.
“I’d had discussions with the club quite early on in 2018 regarding the summer season and it was just a matter of meeting up with [coach] Andy [Hedge] when he was signed and finalize the details.”
Ryan is a talented passer with over 100 games for Eastbourne Borough FC in the Conference South – an impressive career start for a player who is still only 21.
Tom and Ryan are both enjoying the Nelson climate and people.
“It’s a beautiful place and a great place to play football, we are keen to really push this club on now and see what we can achieve in the second round of this season.”
Tasman has had just the one win during its premiership run thus far but will look to double that as they host Hawke’s Bay at Trafalgar Park this Sunday.
Kick off is at 2pm.