Footballers off to mix it with the best

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A team of talented young soccer players

from around the Nelson region will have an early start to the season when they head to Auckland for the Auckland City Foot- ball Club Under-17 Youth tournament. And the Paul Cousins-coached Richmond AFC Challengers is expecting a tough start to the tournament, that runs from March

20-22, when they meet a team from New Caledonia in the first round of pool play. There are 32 boys teams and 24 girls teams in the tournament with the top two teams in each pool qualifying for the premier section.

“No one knows how good the New Caledonian team will be, but I expect they will be very good,” Paul says.
“We also have Auckland City Central in

our pool so it’s going to be hard to qualify for the top section.
“We reached the quarter final of the bowls last year and lost on penalties. I’d like to think we can reach the semis of the bowl this year.”

Paul says the team has been training as a squad since mid-January and will have had three lead-up games before it heads to Auckland. It played against a mixed team

last week and was to play a Nelson College team on Tuesday and the Richmond 1st XI on Friday.
Paul says the team has some really talented young players who range in age from 14 to 17.

“It’s a great opportunity for them. They’ll be playing against the best teams from around the country and there will be scouts out there looking around.”