Junior All White Myer Bevan signs for Major League Soccer club
New Zealand under-20 striker Myer Bevan has received a timely boost ahead of the Fifa IFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea.
The 20-year-old member of The Nike Academy has signed his first professional contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Major League Soccer (MLS).
Bevan, who was the leading goal scorer for the NZ U-20s and the player of the OFC U-20 Championship, impressed on a recent two week trial with the Whitecaps.
The Aucklander can't wait to get started shortly after the Fifa U-20 World Cup which is being staged from May 20-June 11.
"I am buzzing," said Bevan. "This is what I have been dreaming about for a long time. I need to get there and get involved, start games and score, and hopefully see what happens."
Bevan paid credit to All White Deklan Wynne who helped with his transition into the Vancouver set-up.
"He was awesome to me in my time there," said Bevan. "He brought me in and helped me a huge amount. It is always hard when you are in a trial environment because the guys you are playing with [think] you are stealing their shirt or their friend's shirt. The boys don't really like you but having him there really helped. His mates became my mates and that made the experience a whole lot easier."
New Zealand U-20 coach Darren Bazeley said it was great news for his prolific young forward.
"We have known that Myer is a special talent for some time now and this is further confirmation of that," he said.
"He was superb for us at last year's OFC U-20 Championship and was deserving of the Player of the Tournament award. I am sure he is going to do well in Vancouver but before then he has a big role to play for us in the Fifa U-20 World Cup."
Bevan said he has developed a huge amount in The Nike Academy where he has scored 25 goals against clubs like Barcelona, Arsenal, Inter Milan, Manchester United and other world-class teams.
"I wouldn't be the player I am now without it. You learn a whole lot more about football it is not just on the pitch. It is off the pitch as well and I feel like my game has improved there and this has all happened because of The Nike Academy so I can't thank them enough. This is my pathway now and I have to kick on."
Like Bazeley, Jon Goodman, Nike Academy's head coach, was not surprised to see Bevan selected by a high profile club.
"Myer is a hard-working, natural goal scorer who has been a pleasure to work with this season. His greatest strength is his cool head when through on goal; he is so calm under pressure," said Goodman.
"We have all thoroughly enjoyed our time with Myer at The Nike Academy and are so proud that he has recently secured a professional contract at Vancouver."
Bevan is excited about his pro contract but first and foremost wants to make a statement about his ability against Vietnam, Honduras and France in the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
"I have never been to a World Cup before. Some of these boys [like Clayton Lewis and Moses Dyer] have played for their country before so I will look to take some piece of advice from them. It is the world stage and the biggest stage to impress so hopefully I can go out there and score some goals."