Only 18 days after his 15th birthday, RF3 Football Academy player Luke Brooke-Smith has made his debut in the Lotto NRFL Southern Conference.
Brooke-Smith came off the subs’ bench for hometown club Cambridge with nine minutes to go in their Conference fixture against Papamoa.
Main photo: Luke Brooke-Smith drives forward against Papamoa. Photo credit: Emma Young.
To make his debut at 15, the club required dispensation from WaiBOP Football for him to play as a senior.
And for Brooke-Smith, it was a winning debut.
The club won the match 4-0, with a hat-trick from Josh Clarkin, to stay in the race for the title.
RH3 Football Academy founder Ricki Herbert said he was delighted for Brooke-Smith whose hard work and commitment had earned him his break into senior football.
“The Conference is only two leagues below the Northern League and training and playing with Cambridge is going to give him good experience for the future,” Herbert said.
Brooke-Smith is the academy’s second player in a year to break into an elite league.
In July last year, Dylan Gardiner made his debut for Hamilton Wanderers in the Northern League, just after his 16th birthday.
Gardiner is the captain of the New Zealand U-17 team.