Young players' close up with U-20 World Cup

Sterling Monk, 7, and his father Hayden check out the Fifa under-20 World Cup at Yarrow Stadium.
Sterling Monk, 7, and his father Hayden check out the Fifa under-20 World Cup at Yarrow Stadium.

Aspiring midfielder Sterling Monk knows goals win football matches and in New Plymouth yesterday he got a close look at the prize for winning the Fifa Under-20 World Cup 2015.

The 7-year-old Central Rangers player says he loves many aspects of the game but putting the ball in the back of the net rates highest. "The best part is scoring goals."

Sterling was among dozens of children, many in football strip, and parents at Yarrow Stadium yesterday to see the Fifa Under-20 World Cup trophy.

The venue, which will be renamed Stadium Taranaki during next year's tournament, is hosting six matches in June 2015, including five group games and a round-of-16 match.

The cup was unveiled to "oohs and ahhs" on the stadium concourse where the children were able to play small-sided games, take spot-kicks at a giant inflatable goal and go into a draw for prizes ranging from cupcakes to World Cup tickets.

Woodleigh School defender Carter Reid, who is also a Taranaki under-10 rep player, knew that seeing the trophy was not everything.

"I want to play a ton of games and win some prizes," the 10-year-old said.

Later the trophy moved to Inglewood where it went on display at the band rotunda after school.

Today it is at the Hawera Soccer Club's Turuturu Park clubrooms from 10.30am to midday before travelling to Whanganui.

The trophy started its tour of New Zealand at Waitangi on May 5, where it was delivered by waka in the hands of Oceania's Footballer of the Century, Wynton Rufer.

Fifa Under-20 World Cup 2015 operations manager Matt McLennan said the tour had been an amazing way to connect with fans.

"It's been great to get out to the football clubs," McLennan said.

A portion of the tournaments ticket sales goes back to New Zealand clubs.

The trophy tour finishes in Auckland on May 30 when the All Whites play South Africa in an international friendly at Mt Smart Stadium.

"We didn't plan that," said McLennan. "It kind of worked out that way."

Prices for venue packs, which cover all six games at Stadium Taranaki, are adults $83, child $30, and family packs $195.

Taranaki Daily News