The Mount Aspiring College (MAC) Boys first XI football team are competing at the NZ Secondary Schools Jim Wishart Tournament in Blenheim this week. Team members have been playing their club football in the Dunedin Premier League for the Wanaka AFC Premier Men’s team for the last five months.
MAC captain Weston Bell, center midfielder Michael Gealogo, Toa Roode, defender Levi Fletcher and striker Harry Grimsdale have all played a major role in WAFC Premiers recent success along with MAC players Ethan Arrati, Flynn Brown and keeper Lukas Schfer who have been called up when needed, earning valuable game time.
The young players, where the average age is 16, have shown maturity and composure on the pitch in the top men’s league and haven’t looked out of place.
Gealogo has been the most consistent and punches above his weight, and, as the season has progressed, his MAC teams have really stepped up their game to be consistently named in the starting lineup in recent times.
Along with their Dunedin Premier League players, the MAC team also has some of the young Wanaka football talent in their ranks, such as year 10 Jack Lanigan and Xion Lippe who have shown that they are not out of their depth and have enjoyed playing with their older teammates and peers.
The opportunity the MAC team has given them to play alongside the older boys has proved invaluable. Even in reps and national age grade teams, they play with and against players their same age, so playing alongside and against older boys has boosted their confidence and sharpened their skills.
The Jim Wishart Tournament is hard and the MAC boys are in a very tough pool; no matter the result, this bunch of young players will be going somewhere.