At a time when dozens of young footballers are descending on the capital, Wellington’s Taylor Hall-Jones decided to take the opposite route and ply his trade in Nelson.
A regular in either the middle of the park or at right back, the 19 year old New Zealand King Salmon Nelson Falcons player has not only found a new direction in Nelson, but a supportive club that has helped him find a place to stay and sponsors that have helped him find a job.
“I just wanted to get out of Wellington really; it’s something different and I though it’d be nice down here in summer,”
he says. “The thing for me in Wellington is that it’s just going to be the same every year basically just playing for my club so I wanted to come down here.”
Taylor, who grew up in a rugby-loving family, has been working on a recycling truck around the district, courtesy of team sponsor Nelmac. “They told me it’s rubbish so I might not want to do it. But I thought I’d give it a fair whack. But that’s one of the things that people said before I moved, that they’d be happy to help out. The club is run so well with a lot of volunteers doing a lot of work.”
A central league regular, Taylor has been playing at a level above or equal to the Mainland Premier League since
he was just 14 years old. He represents Lower Hutt City AFC and has gone on to win two national under-19 championships
with its youth side. Since he was a boy, he has been team-mates with Louis Fenton – a starter for the Wellington Phoenix.
“Me and Louis are good mates. We went on a football trip to America together when we were about 16, we roomed together. It’s cool [to see him playing for the Phoenix]. There are four boys from Lower Hutt who are in the Phoenix youth academy too.”
While Taylor says he might have missed his opportunity to push on to professional football, he remains hopeful that he can make the transition through to the ASB Premiership sometime during the next two seasons.
“I don’t have a preference where, I just want to be playing. If there was a senior team here then that’d be cool, but if not, well that’s just life.”
Taylor says the heat was the biggest change since making the move south from Wellington but he was enjoying his time with the Falcons and the number of supporters that come along to each home match. “That was the big difference – people actually come watch here and get behind the team. In Wellington not many people get behind the youth team but here everyone makes a big deal out of it.”