Change of scene for overseas stars

The FIFA Confederations Cup may have wrapped up but it’s an exciting time to be an overseas-based Kiwi footballer nonetheless with several having a new challenge to look forward to after moving clubs.

Fresh from taking part in a ground-breaking campaign at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic last month – in which Darren Bazeley’s charges became the first New Zealand side to reach the knockout stages of that tournament on foreign soil – Henry Cameron has put pen to paper on a deal with Limerick FC, who play in the League of Ireland Premier Division. After recovering from a serious knee injury, the two-cap All White was released by English League One outfit Blackpool at the end of last season and says the chance to link up again with former manager Neil McDonald encouraged him to cross the Irish Sea. “He asked me if I wanted to come over and it was a yes straight away because I wanted to work with him again,” Cameron says. “He was really good for me because he knew how to manage me and got the best out of me.” The feeling is clearly mutual with McDonald expecting the 20-year-old to be an asset to Limerick. “He played the majority of the games before he got injured and I really enjoyed working with him,” McDonald says. “I expect him to play well, take people on and put the ball in the box. He’s a winger that can play both sides and has two great feet, which is excellent.”

Another young attacking player capped by the All Whites is also on the move as Tyler Boyd swaps Vitoria de Guimaraes for CD Tondela in the Portuguese Primeira Liga. The former Wellington Phoenix man has played six times for New Zealand at senior level but left these shores in 2015 to try his luck in Europe. After joining one of the top clubs in Portugal, Boyd has struggled to break into the first team of Vitoria de Guimaraes – making only two appearances – but has made a big impact on the reserve team, scoring eight goals last season. That form has not gone unnoticed with several top-flight outfits reportedly interested in securing his signature on loan, a race finally won by Tondela. The Kiwi will be joined by a fellow A-League alumni with Australian defender Nick Ansell also having recently signed for Tondela from Melbourne Victory. Boyd’s goals could prove crucial as the side avoided relegation by the slimmest of margins in the previous campaign, a single strike proving enough to keep them up on goal difference.

Also potentially about to enjoy a change of scene is Football Ferns goalkeeper Erin Nayler, who has agreed a deal in principle to join the women’s set up at French giants Girondins de Bordeaux. While the official paperwork still needs to be sorted out, Bordeaux officials are expecting the 48-cap international to be present at the start of pre-season training later this month. If the deal goes through, it will be the third French club added to Nayler’s footballing CV after her European adventure began with Olympique Lyonnais – one of the top female sides in the world – before a loan move to second-tier Grenoble Foot 38. While her former club, more commonly known as Lyon, are the defending champions of the Division 1 Feminine, Nayler is likely to be busy between the sticks for Bordeaux as they finished just one point ahead of the relegation zone last season.

There could well be another Kiwi shortly wearing different colours elsewhere in the world with Jeremy Brockie still the subject of intense media speculation in South Africa. The 29-year-old scored 16 goals this season as SuperSport United earned back-to-back Nedbank Cup triumphs and finished fifth in the Absa Premiership, alerting many other clubs to his talents. But the man himself has remained tight-lipped over his future and has further business to take care of before anything can be decided with SuperSport United still alive in the CAF Confederation Cup. Brockie and co travelled to Guinea in West Africa over the weekend and came back with a point after a scoreless stalemate against Horoya. Brockie started on the bench and came on in the 66th minute but couldn’t break the deadlock.

Meanwhile, fellow New Zealander Michael Boxall will be returning to action with Brockie sooner than expected after starring for the All Whites at the FIFA Confederations Cup. The defender was originally given a fortnight’s leave by SuperSport but has been recalled early due to the suspension of Morgan Gould and will play in SuperSport’s final group game against Gabonese side Mounana this Sunday, a win in which could see the Matsatsantsa progress to the quarter-finals. Regardless of whether the former stays or not, Brockie and Boxall will have a new coach to play for next term as former South Africa international Eric Tinkler is set to take over from Stuart Baxter, who has assumed control of the national team.

The Kiwi contingent at the Vancouver Whitecaps is now even larger than at SuperSport with Myer Bevan having joined All White Deklan Wynne and Francis De Vries in Canada. History was made over the weekend with all three New Zealanders starting for the club’s second-string side in the United Soccer League (USL) for the first time. Wynne and Bevan played out the full 90 minutes while De Vries was subbed off at half time as he made a return from injury. The presence of the Kiwis did not have the desired effect though as Vancouver fell to a 2-0 loss against Seattle Sounders. Bevan nearly earned an assist on his maiden start, heading a cross into the path of Matthew Baldisimo to clip the top of the cross bar with a volley.

Heading south across the border, Jake Gleeson was between the sticks again as the Portland Timbers claimed a point against top-of-the-table Sporting Kansas City in a 1-1 draw in Major League Soccer (MLS) action. Kansas are now sharing the Western Conference lead with FC Dallas while Portland are five points behind in third. Tied with the Timbers are San Jose Earthquakes, for whom Kip Colvey made his first appearance of the season last Thursday after representing his country at the FIFA Confederations Cup. The fullback has mainly been loaned out to feeder club Reno 1868 this season but got 90 minutes under his belt for the Earthquakes as they defeated Seattle Sounders 2-1 in the US Open Cup Round of 16. Colvey and co will now take on LA Galaxy in the quarter-finals on July 10.

In the female game in America, all four Kiwis featured for their clubs in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) after injury and suspension prevented that from happening recently. Katie Bowen came on in the 78th minute for FC Kansas City but could not save her side from going down 2-1 to the Houston Dash. Rebekah Stott continued her consistent form as she helped her side, Seattle Reign, gain all three points in a 2-0 win over Portland Thorns. Rosie White returned from suspension and played in midfield for the Boston Breakers as they eked out a 1-0 win over Washington Spirit. The other New Zealander to feature was Abby Erceg as the North Carolina Courage came up against a strong Sky Blues FC, falling 1-0 for only their fourth loss of the season. The Erceg-captained Courage are still on top of the NWSL though while the Reign have moved up to third place. Kansas and Boston remain near the bottom of the table in eighth and ninth respectively.

In Europe, Nikko Boxall and Brock Messenger both experienced losses for their respective Scadinavian sides. Messenger battled it out for a full 90 minutes as Jaro were beaten 1-0 by Ekenas in the Finnish second tier while Boxall suffered a loss by the same scoreline for KuPS against Ilves in the top flight. Over in Sweden, Hannah Wilkinson took full part for Vittsjo in a 2-0 loss to Hammarby but it wasn’t all defeats for the Kiwis in Scandinavia. Ali Riley and Rosengard continued their hot form by defeating Pitea 2-0 in the Swedish Damallsvenskan while Kirsty Yallop was on target for Klepp in Norway. The midfielder opened the scoring in the second minute of a 4-1 win over Kolbotn as Klepp moved up to fourth in the Toppserien.

Also finding the net was Shane Smeltz, who helped Borneo defeat second-placed Madura United 3-0 in the Indonesian Liga 1. Smeltz scored the last of the goals for Borneo in a win that brings them into tenth on the table.

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