New team seeks players and coach
Nelson's ASB Youth League side are scheduled to play a curtainraiser for the Wellington Phoenix under the roof at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium in March, but first they need a team.
Confirmation that Nelson will field a team next season came on September 24, and the opening fixture for the under-20s, a tough trip away against defending champions Canterbury United, will be played on January 13. With kickoff just 90 days away, time for an as-yet unnamed coach to prepare an as-yet unselected squad is fast running out.
The call has gone out to all football corners that an open trial will be held at 10am on October 26 and 27 at Saxton Field. Schools and clubs from Blenheim to Takaka have been informed, and all keen footballers are welcome.
The Nelson Football franchise, an incorporated society with 15 members and a nine-strong committee, is also accepting expressions of interest for coaching roles. Committee chair Aldo Miccio said an announcement could be expected in mid-November.
"We will be looking to do a public launch of the new playing strip and the coaches and the key sponsors in mid-November.
"The team itself will be selected from the trials. We will not be doing any signings until after the trials, but we have approached some key players and some key over-age players to come to the trial.
"We will make the team public at the launch event. The players will be there - they may have been named earlier - but the key thing is the sponsors and the playing strip and the coach.
"The trial is open to anyone . . . it is a new franchise representing the top of the south, and we are putting this out to everyone as far as Takaka and Marlborough."
Miccio said it was important that the football community understood that the franchise was not affiliated with any one club.
He said the committee had representatives from the three major clubs in Nelson - FC Nelson, Richmond Athletic and Nelson Suburbs - as well as independents and Nelson Bays Football district executives.
Nelson Football will have their first home match against YoungHeart Manawatu in Nelson on January 20, so to prepare for the fast start, a pre-season tour is being considered.
Subject to gaining board approval, Nelson Football have been invited to play in a tournament with Hawke's Bay and Manawatu, with a possible friendly against Team Wellington on the way.
Miccio said that in terms of player development, it was the first time Nelson had had a link between college and national league, a senior side the franchise is still hopeful of gaining in 2013. However, it was not all about participation, as there would be some big matches. "We don't just want to run out on the field - we want to be competitive, win our pool and make the finals.
"We are playing in the only curtainraiser for the A-League . . . It's a chance for the boys to play under the cover of the Forsyth Barr Stadium before Melbourne versus Wellington, so it will be a big occasion."
- © Fairfax NZ News