Waitakere City FC made a splash on the global football stage last week, competing at the World Finals of the Manchester United Premier Cup competition in Manchester.
Waitakere City FC’s Dane Schnell in action against Chelsea at the Manchester United Premier Cup last week. Photo supplied.
A global U-15 club event, the Manchester United Premier Cup has over 8000 entrants from 43 countries around the world.
After winning through the Pacific Region qualification process earlier this year, Waitakere City performed with distinction in Manchester, playing six matches with only one defeat in regulation time.
The west Auckland club opened their tournament with a 1-1 draw against Italian giants AS Roma. Charles Spragg gave Waitakere at 1-0 lead in the second half but the team was denied a famous win as Roma scrambled an equaliser in the final minute.
In their second match of the opening day, the clash with Argentinean champions Rosario ended in a 0-0 draw. Day two began with a 1-1 draw with European champions Malmo (Sweden), Jordan Lamb lifting the ball over the opposition ‘keeper in the second half to earn the result.
Waitakere’s fourth match of the tournament saw the New Zealand side meet Chelsea with the English Premier League club claiming a 2-0 win as both goals came in the second half.
Waitakere finished the group stage in fourth place which saw the New Zealand side in the playoff bracket for 13th-16th place. Their first match of the playoffs saw Waitakere clash with American champions Weston FC.
In an evenly-contested game, the decisive moment came in the first half when Dane Schnell delivered a ball from the right which deflected off an American defender and over the goalkeeper to give Waitakere the win.
Their final match was a 13/14th playoff meeting with Austrian club Sturm Graz.
Once again the score was locked at 0-0 at half time before the Austrians took the lead early in the second period. But Waitakere rallied and were rewarded when Dane Schnell scored from an excellent move which saw the game finish in a 1-1 draw. The west Auckland side lost the resulting penalty shootout 5-3.
Chris Turner, coach of the side, says the team is won a lot of admirers during their time in Manchester.
“It is hard to describe how well we did,” Turner said, “the boys performed very well on and off the pitch and we gained a lot of respect from the other teams at this tournament.
“Some boys are capable of going on to play at a very high level.”
Waitakere City FC – Manchester United Premier Cup squad
Coaches: Chris Turner, Carl Jorgensen
Squad: Michael Woud (GK), Joshua Turner, Alex Greive, Charles Spragg, Dane Schnell, Troy Tapsell, Moses Akimana, Luke Jorgensen, Sean Green, Jordan Lamb, Dylan Routledge, Clarke Foulds, Matt Harland, Peter Hunt, Joshua Peden, Alistair Wright