Two of Nelson’s most successful footballers have been snubbed by Tasman United.
Suburbs striker Cam Gordon won the Mainland Premier League’s Golden Boot after his stellar season, scoring 34 goals, while Corey Wilson was named the tournament’s top goalkeeper for a second consecutive year.
However, neither accolade was enough to secure a contract for the national league.
Tasman United general manger Nic Foster says new coach Jess Ibrom has signalled his intention to give Nelson players and youth players opportunities.
“I think the final squad will reflect this thinking.”
Nic says that the national league foreign imports ruling has been reduced by New Zealand Football and he says that both of those players come under this category.
Tasman have already signed keepers Nick Stanton and 21-year-old Pierce Clark from Queensland, with striker Jama Boss from Manukau also on the books.
They have also announced New Caledonian international Jean- Philippe Saïko as another striker.
Cam and Corey were surprised by the omission having been part of the SFL champion Suburbs side.
Both players agree, while the personal recognition is a bonus, winning a title for the first time in a decade was the far more satisfying success.
“Awards are a nice bit on the side but to be a part of a team that won the league for the first time in a while is even more special,” says Cam.
Corey says the side has an incredibly strong brotherhood.
“We wanted to die for each other on the field, as cheesy as that sounds.”
The pair each had seasons riddled with highlights with Corey citing his unlikely goal against Caversham as a top moment.
With his newborn son watching for the first time and his side trailing by one entering injury time, Corey came out of goal to score at the other end in a dramatic end to the game.
“It was the loudest cheer I’ve heard at Saxton in three years and considering we won the league by one goal it obviously was important. It’s up there with my best footballing moment ever.”
Cam says the pick of his 34 goals was, without doubt, his matchwinner against rivals Cashmere Tech in Christchurch.
He says the Suburbs environment is the best he has ever been involved in.
“I felt welcome from day one, it’s a great changing room.”
Having been granted residency last week, Corey has settled in the region with his fiancée and son.
“It’s a big relief knowing I can stay here and as I’m not required for national league, I will just enjoy my summer off and spend some time with the family.”
Cam will return to the UK for summer but says there is every chance he will be back in blue next year.
“I will see what life holds, try to get a job, but if things don’t work out back home, I wouldn’t say no.”
Being in the form of his life, Cam says he was disappointed not to be staying and playing in the ISPS Handa Premiership.
“I thought there was a good chance of being involved, but that’s football.”