NINETEEN promising young footballers left New Zealand in late 2013 for a European tour that included trips to Spain’s Barcelona and some of the biggest clubs in the United Kingdom.
The two-week tour left from Auckland, with players selected from as far south as Invercargill.
At the start of the tour, Ricki Herbert said: “Not only will the U-16 RHFA squad play and train in professional facilities, but they will get to experience the European football culture.”
The tour allowed young players to experience European style football with all its pace, skill and technique. The players received an eye-opening opportunity to see the foundations/facilities and programmes that help produce the best players in the world.
The squad spent seven days in Barcelona, training in professional facilities as well as playing against Spanish opposition. They went to the legendary Camp Nou to explore the home of Spanish football giants Barcelona. From there, the squad went to Birmingham, England, to watch Aston Villa host Manchester City at Villa Park in the English Premier League.
The squad then ventured to London to spend five further nights with three training sessions and thre games against English opposition.
The tour was made possible by some innovative fundraising, including the sales of a special limited edition release of a red wine. Bottles of ‘Ricki’s Red Soccer Syrah’, produced by Hawke’s Bay winery Unison Vineyard were sold by players’ parents.
The Ricki Herbert Football Academy is proud to announce the release of its very own wine. Yes, you heard right, for the next month it’s not just football, but also fine wine at the RHFA. Thanks to Hawkes Bay based winery Unison Vineyard, the limited edition of ‘Ricki’s Red Soccer Syrah’ will be available to purchase for a limited time with proceedings helping players fundraise for the upcoming U16 RHFA tour of Europe.
Touring squad: Jack Bates, Sean Clark, Jared Cuff, Mike Faber, Thomas Fitzgerald, Jackson Gibbons, Sam Gillespie, Aidan Hallett, Luke Horn, Troydyn Kraay, David Masters, Elliot Moss-Pearson, Philip Paul, Oliver Prisk, Olusegun Rotimi, Logan Smith, Joshua Vine, Liam Watson, Karlos Zammit.