Aspiring Boyd seeking future with Phoenix
Young Cambridge striker takes first big step in career as professional. Ian Anderson reports.
When Tony Lochhead taught a young Tyler Boyd his footballing skills in California, neither player envisaged training together 10 years later.
But on Monday, Cambridge teenager Boyd will start his first session as a professional footballer, with Lochhead as a team-mate at the Wellington Phoenix.
The 17-year-old has joined the Phoenix's "footballing school of excellence" with seven other promising young New Zealand players and will train daily with the first-team squad.
That means Boyd has played his last match for Melville United, leaving as their top scorer during this Northern League Premier Division season with seven goals.
He will now turn out for Miramar Rangers in the Central League. He will also have to switch Premiership allegiances to play for Team Wellington instead of Waikato FC.
Now Boyd, a quick and skilful striker, can start fulfilling a lengthy dream of becoming a professional player.
"I've wanted this ever since I can remember," Boyd said, as his eyes lit up.
Boyd was 2 when his family moved to the United States. He got advice from Lochhead when the All Whites and Phoenix left back was at the University of California Santa Barbara and helping junior kids at training camps as part of his scholarship. Boyd moved back aged 10 to Omokoroa, before switching to Cambridge as his footballing ability began to be recognised.
He got his first shot at senior football last year from former Melville United coach Steve Williams and quickly impressed, before becoming a regular standout over summer with Waikato FC.
Now Boyd does not want to halt his rapid climb, eyeing to get a chance with the Phoenix first team in the A-League "as soon as I can".
"I just want to train as hard as I can, try and impress, listen to the coaches," Boyd said, while also admitting he targets a breakthrough in his first year.
"I'm really excited to work with the All Whites coach [Ricki Herbert]. The programme offers me as a player a real opportunity to develop my skills and aspire to be a professional footballer."
Boyd said speed of thinking, technique, and physique were areas of improvement he wanted to work on. He believes the move south is the right one at this stage, despite being scouted by Italian clubs, receiving approaches from clubs from France, and scholarship offers from top US universities.
But a move overseas is another eventual ambition.
"The ultimate goal would be playing overseas in Europe – Germany, Spain, France, anywhere like that ... just to take my career to the ultimate high."
Even without Boyd, Melville United should have enough firepower to advance to the next round of the Chatham Cup tomorrow.
The Declan Edge-coached side head to Auckland to meet non-league Oratia United, who made the third round with a 3-0 victory over Waikato Unicol at Waikato University earlier this month.
Fellow Northern League Premier Division side Hamilton Wanderers are also expected to make the fourth round with a win today at Porritt Stadium over non-leaguers Waitemata (2pm kickoff).
In Division One, Ngaruawahia United aim to climb away from the relegation zone when they travel to meet Papatoetoe. Matamata Swifts are away to Fencibles United in Division Two.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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