College Welcomes Premier League Academy

September 29, 2015 at 9:23 AM

Instead of our blue and white sports uniform, the fields at the College have been a sea of claret and blue over the past four days as English Premier League football club, West Ham United hosted the inaugural national academy camp for young up-and-coming players. More than 80 aspiring footballers from around the country descended on the campus on Saturday for a unique experience featuring coaching and advice from West Ham's international academy coaches. Among them were former West Ham first team players, Paul Heffer and George Cowie. West Ham has a strong Kiwi connection with All Whites captain, Winston Reid having played for The Hammers since 2010.

The players, aged 8 to 18, had been invited to attend based on their performance at regional camps held at the College and in Hamilton and Dunedin in July. The boys and girls received on-field technical and tactical instruction and verbal evaluation from the West Ham staff. There were also classroom presentations on overseas university and professional career prospects and nutritional advice and information. Many of those from out of town made use of the boarding facilities at Bruce House. A number of Saint Kentigern players had made it through to the national camp, ranging from Year 8 to 1st XI representatives.

Mr Heffer said the College was an ideal location for the camp and is excited about making it an annual fixture. 'These are excellent facilities,' he said. 'Not only do you have great pitches but you have the great outlook over the river.' He was also impressed with the standard of skills on display. 'Considering it's the first time we've held a national academy camp in New Zealand, it's great to have this many good players in one place.'

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