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Phoenix link for the new club

The new club Dunedin has marked its ambitions by forging a link with the only professional team in New Zealand.

The South City Royals, formed this year from the merger of Dunedin Technical and Caversham clubs, are in the early stages of a working relationship with Wellington Phoenix.

This will start in earnest on January 24 and 25 when the Phoenix academy coaching staff come to Dunedin for an “experience camp”, one of three to be held in the South Island, which will give footballers born between 2008 and 2012 the opportunity to shine. .

Royals coach Richard Murray looks back with Phoenix academy boss Paul Temple.

“It’s really in its infancy,” Murray said yesterday.

“We had a few discussions with Paul. They are interested in a partnership, so we explored a few avenues.

“It’s just a little bit of exposure and opportunity for our young players. For us as a club we talked about creating lanes. Phoenix are the only professional club in New Zealand for men and women now, so that might be a good opportunity. “

Murray said there was a possibility that a pre-academy could be created for qualified youngsters who want a serious path in the sport.

He is convinced that the southern region produces its share of talented footballers – they just need more opportunities.

“We’ve had players who went to college in America, male and female, but that outlet kind of closed down a bit with Covid.

“We have players who are good enough to move up to the top level, so we have to provide them with a path.”

The Royals won the Southern Premier post in their first year before a meritorious third in the Southern League, missing a spot in the new National League by one point.

Murray is hoping that next season, the first full year under the new structure, will be successful as well.

“We are very excited about the future. It is a very busy time.

“We’re not losing a lot of players so we have a core to lean on and we know we’re not too far away.”

It all starts on March 26, when the Royals will have the Southern League, Premiership, Fletcher Cup and Women’s teams from the same day.

The Royals will once again have Green Island for company in the South Island league, but Mosgiel took over from the University after the latter club failed to complete their licensing requirements.

“It’s disappointing for the players because there is a lot of talent there, and they’ve been together for a few years,” said Murray.

“But the clubs here have known for a while that this was coming, and we have prepared for it.

“Unfortunately the university got a bit of a catch. I know they’ve done a bit of homework in the last three or four months to get up to speed, but it’s a big demand. We have passed. a long, long time trying to get everything for our license application. “

Naturally, top college players will be expected to knock on other doors as they seek to be part of a team playing at the highest level.

“I think it’s a pretty tight group, and it’s probably still a bit rough for them,” said Murray.

“At the end of the day, the players will do what is best for themselves, and you will definitely see some movement before the start of the season.”

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