Young Auckland City star Myer Bevan has always dreamed of being a professional footballer and the events of recent weeks have brought that ambition a few steps closer to reality.
First, the 18-year-old was hand-plucked out of thousands of hopefuls from all corners of the globe for a highly-sought after place in the Nike Academy, a UK-based programme that seeks to develop unsigned U-20 players with the intention of helping them find a professional club.
Just days after receiving that exciting news, Bevan was then included by coach Anthony Hudson in a wider training group preparing for the All Whites’ upcoming OFC Nations Cup campaign.
“It’s been unreal, it’s a great experience to be out there with those boys,” says Bevan of his time in Hudson’s training camp, which has been running at Auckland’s QBE Stadium since Monday.
“Most of them are professionals so it’s great to be amongst them and find out what it takes to be at that level.”
The sharp-shooting striker will look to take what he has learned from the experience into his next footballing adventure at the Nike Academy, which he will jet off to England to join at the end of June.
“It’s like a dream come true,” he says.
“It’s a step in the right direction and I can’t wait to get over there and get started. It’s probably one of the biggest doors that could’ve been opened for myself to step into what I want to do for a living.”
Bevan, who plays his winter football for Auckland club Western Springs, earned his place in the Nike Academy after first being singled out from over 200 other young Kiwi players in the New Zealand leg of the Nike Most Wanted event.
From there, he headed to Paris where 42 winners from around the world came together to fight for a chance to be included in the academy. Only 11 were chosen and Bevan is now set to join his fellow new inductees at St George’s Park – the English FA’s state-of-the-art football centre – for the next six months.
The Nike Academy has produced over 50 players who have gone on to play professionally and, as well as boasting world-class coaching, is known for its collaborations with high-profile former and current international players, most notably Joe Hart, Rio Ferdinand, Francesco Totti, Sami Khedira and Mario Gotze.
As a scout for the academy, former All Whites captain Danny Hay was largely responsible for selecting Bevan in the New Zealand leg of the trials and believes he has a lot to offer.
“He’s quite aggressive and is willing to put himself about, as well as being a fantastic finisher,” Hay says.
“But the thing that really stood out for us was that his movement off the ball was very intelligent so he clearly understands the tactical side of the game.”
Bevan knows he has plenty of work to do to achieve his lofty ambitions but has his heart set on a professional deal.
“If I was lucky enough to get a contract it would mean so much to my family and I because that’s all I’ve ever worked for,” he says.
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