BY COLIN THORSEN
VALENCIA BOUND: Goalie Jacob Daly and centre fullback Liam Fellowes.
Two Te Awamutu teenage soccer players are hurriedly fundraising for an incredible opportunity to spend two weeks training at the Valencia CF Foundation Academy.
Valencia CF are the fourth biggest football club in Spain behind Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Jacob Daly (17) and Liam Fellowes (16) are among the 18 teenage boys and girls from throughout New Zealand selected for the ‘once in a lifetime’ experience in March after impressing at trials, run by Kim Beale, director of SoccerplusNZ based in Auckland.
They will get to participate in 13 training sessions with the academy coaches, have five games against Valencia Academy teams, have opportunities to observe first team training sessions and meet the players and a chance to watch Valencia play against rivals Villarreal live.
The package also includes a Valencia Academy kit and a chance to tour the stadium and city.
In May 2014, Beale was contacted by Valencia CF Foundation Oceania director, Ignacio Salvador who was aware of the football programmes he has overseen in New Zealand since 1998.
These include football camps, overseas trips (to 15 nations), NZ CrossWhites tournaments and the SAFCA Street Football Academy.
Salvador said his Valencia CF Foundation Academy had a desire to explore footballing talent in this part of the world and create opportunities for the boys and girls.
Valencia CF are keen to find a New Zealand partner to help create opportunities for young players in Valencia and in New Zealand.
It is a great privilege and will be a memorable experience for Daly and Fellowes.
The boys are busy fundraising for the $7000 they each need for the trip to Valencia. That does not include spending money.
If anyone is interested in sup-porting them or has fundraising ideas, please contact Helen Bastion 027 483-9755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any support given to them will be greatly appreciated and will be an investment in their football and personal life.
Daly has played for several clubs in his fledgling footballing career, beginning at a young age at Western FC (Christchurch), before moving to Te Awamutu where he became the junior club’s goalkeeper, after an injury, and has never turned back. He has played for the St John's College first XI (past two seasons), Te Awamutu U15 youth team, Claudelands Rovers U15 A team and Te Awamutu Men's B team.
Last season he made the most of an opportunity to play for the Wanderers U17 team, gaining promotion into the club’s NRFL Reserves team and has benefited from working with such experienced players/club coaches.
Daly was a member of the New Zealand CrossWhites men's team that finished runnersup in the Australian National Christian football titles in September last year.
Fellowes began playing football for Marist Football club while attending Marian Catholic Primary School in Hamilton.
Once moving to high school, he played for Hamilton Wanderers Football Club, as well as St John's College first XI for three seasons in the Waikato Secondary School first division.
In 2014, Fellowes was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.
He represented the CrossWhites U16 team in 2014, making the tournament team at the completion of the tournament in Australia.
“We have seen these boys grow not only as players but as young men this year, showing maturity and responsibility in their respective roles within their teams,” says Kim Beale, coach. “We believe the opportunity to train and learn at one of the world’s best football academies will only benefit them and any team they are involved with in the future.”