Phoenix announce first development players

Last updated 17:30 20/06/2012

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The first crop of Phoenix development players has been named today, with eight young footballers set to join the club's school of excellence.

The development programme is part of co-owner Gareth Morgan's vision to create an ongoing pathway between amateur and professional football in Wellington.

"What we are establishing is a two-way street. It gives the Phoenix a pool of talent and enables young players to become familiar with the Phoenix training methods and the team structure.

"It also exposes them to a high level of coaching and is a win-win situation for everyone.

"What amazed me was that football is the biggest code in the world and the largest participation sport in New Zealand yet the All Whites have been so lowly-ranked internationally.

"Anything that helps to change that is good for football in this country."

The Phoenix went through a rigorous selection process, consulting coaches from throughout New Zealand, along with national age group coaches and Premiership club head coaches.

Some of the players have been selected with an eye on the specific positional requirements at the Phoenix.

Players selected for the Phoenix footballing school of excellence: Scott Basalaj, Luke Rowe, Alec Solomons, Tom Doyle, Justin Gully, Tom Biss, Louis Fenton, Tyler Boyd.

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- Fairfax Media

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