Football world opens up for Upper Hutt teenage pair
Footballers Josh McCarroll and Dan McKay are two excited teenagers.
The 13-year-old Upper Hutt City juniors have been selected in the National Youth M Sports team to play a Super Cup competition in Northern Ireland in July.
A year ago, the pair were in Sydney for a M Sports Cup in a New Zealand side, which did well to finish fifth, but the Super Cup is a big step up.
Since starting in 1983 it has become one of the highest rated youth tournaments in the world, attracting teams from Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
* On the ball: Football strikes on rugby's NZ turf as kids vote with their feet
* What sports are best for health and a longer life?
* Emma Main looks ahead to another football World Cup
* HIBS again the champions of college football
"This is much bigger with teams from all across the world," Dan said.
"It's really exciting because you will get the chance to see how you compare with these other players.
"That's the biggest part of it for me," the Year 9 Hutt International Boys' School student said.
Upper Hutt club players since starting the game as six-year-olds, the pair were in a well performed Storm 14th Grade side last season and already have a proven selection pedigree.
They are part of the Capital Football Federation's Talent Centre and Dan has twice been selected for the National Talent Centre.
"I'm really looking forward to it all and what I can learn on and off the field," Josh said.
A centre or left back, the St Pat's Silverstream student said the five-day tournament is part of what will be a big experience.
Ahead of play in Ireland, the M Sports squad will spend four days in Barcelona training under coaches from the La Liga league and playing three Spanish youth sides.
They will then travel to London for work with English premiership academy coaches and more warm-up games against London academy sides.
The boys, who are both committed Manchester United supporters, hope to carry on in the game and are keen to play professionally.
Both said they owe a lot of their development and success to Pedro Garcias, the Upper Hutt City's coaching director, and long time team coach, Dean Chandler.