Six RHFA-coached players have been selected for the New Zealand U-16 Secondary Schools team.
- Jeremy Foo (14) and Jasdeep Basra (15), both of whom play for ACG Strathallan, the South Auckland school that’s been working for five years with a programme developed by the Ricki Herbert Football Academy.
- Luke Mitchell (15), who plays in the WaiBOP Y-League for Cambridge U-15s, coached by RHFA’s Technical Director Kale Herbert.
- Jackson Bigwood, Flynn Cave and Brayden Hills, all of whom play for New Plymouth Boys’ High and who have participated in past RHFA programmes in Taranaki.
Academy founder Ricki Herbert says he and the coaching staff are delighted for the players as their selection provides recognition for the progress they have made as individuals, as well as through their teams’ performances.
“Our coaches have worked hard with this age group and to see six players in the national schools’ squad is very satisfying,” Herbert says.
RHFA’s Northern Region Head Coach Joe Hinds has been working with ACG Strathallan’s footballers for three years, bringing through a group of players from the age of 11.
They progressed into the school’s first XI as 14 and 15-year-olds and this year won the Counties Manukau League with 14 wins from 14 fixtures, securing their first trophy for a school not historically known for its football achievements.
Hinds praised the players for their commitment and acknowledged school principal Danny O’Connor for this continued support.
Meanwhile, RHFA’s Kale Herbert has been coaching Cambridge FC’s youth teams for the past three years, and this year led the work with the club’s U-15s.
Mitchell, a student at St Peter’s, Cambridge, had performed well all year and will benefit from his selection to the national school’s squad.
Main photo: coach Joe Hinds with the title-winning ACG Strathallan first XI.
NZ Secondary Schools games
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a planned visit by an Australian squad will not go ahead.
Instead, the national squad will assemble in January for a training camp, followed by games against a New Zealand Maori team and another yet-to-be-confirmed team.
The U-16 squad
Jasdeep Basra (ACG Strathallan), Isaac Bates (Hamilton Boys’ High School), Rory Best (Scots College), Jackson Bigwood (New Plymouth Boys’ High School), Finn Carpenter (Westlake Boys’ High School), Flynn Cave (New Plymouth Boys’ High School), Tyson Dellow (New Plymouth Boys’ High School), Qingcheng Du (New Plymouth Boys’ High School), Jeremy Foo (ACG Strathallan), Joshua Fowler (Saint Kentigern College), Ollie Gardner (Scots College), Christopher Gleissner-Broom (Saint Kentigern College), Ashton Harbin (Glendowie College), Aiden Hemming (Hamilton Boys’ High School), Brayden Hills (New Plymouth Boys’ High School), Kees Hofma (Rangitoto College), Luca Kneebone (Sacred Heart College), Ryan Lee (Scots College), Eamonn McCarron (St Patricks’ College Town), Finn McKenlay (Westlake Boys’ High School), Luke Mitchell (St Peters, Cambridge), Hamilcar Pulford (New Plymouth Boys’ High School), Tom Rokuroda (Saint Kentigern College), Stipe Ukich (St Peters, Auckland), Baraa Zara (Mount Roskill Grammar School).