In 2014 Logan Rogerson was the best player in the Hamilton Boys’ High School First XI football team. He helped the team finish fourth at the National Championships and scored the winning goal in the Super 8 final.
This year the 17 year old received an unexpected call-up to the senior national team for an international in Myanmar.
To say it has been it’s a big year for Rogerson would be a significant understatement. Despite his tender age, he also featured with the national Under-23 team in the Olympic Qualifying Series.
The striker scored a hat-trick in the match against New Caledonia as New Zealand won the tourney – a title that was unfortunately stripped when FIFA ruled South African-born Deklan Wynne was ineligible to play for New Zealand.
In January Rogerson was awarded the Golden Boot award as the best player at the Under-17 Oceania World Cup qualifiers. He scored a goal in the final as New Zealand eventually foiled a tenacious Tahiti in oppressive heat.
There was further award for Rogerson when he headed home. He was scouted to join the Wellington Phoenix and a month ago singed a three year contract. Rogerson explains why he left school.
“The Phoenix is the only professional environment in the country and we train everyday including gym sessions and recovery sessions. Being a professional at 17 is a wonderful opportunity. I am very grateful and will continue to work hard,” he says.
Rogerson admits he misses his mates at Hamilton Boys’, but has a high profile friend who has been a helpful mentor.
“Marco Rojas has had a big impact. I’ve watched him grow up as a footballer when he played at my club. I trained with him and to go away with him with the All Whites was a real thrill,” Rogerson says.
Rojas is the second youngest player to have played for the Phoenix. He is currently playing for Swiss club FC Thun on loan from VfB Stuttgart, a participant in the lucrative Bundesliga in Germany.
Rogerson hopes to follow in a similar direction to Rojas, but in the immediate future the Under-17 World Cup in Chile is the priority.
The tournament for New Zealand starts on October 19 against France. The other two group games are against Syria and Paraguay. Rogerson concedes the build up has been personally difficult.
“I’ve been in Wellington training with the Phoenix, but the other lads have been together for a while playing warm up games week in and week out”, he says.
“Our trainings consist of learning the style of play that runs through all the national teams from the All Whites to Under-17 level.”
There might be subtle differences in the approach of the national squad and the Phoenix, but Rogerson insists New Zealand are in good shape to perform well.
“Our expectation is to qualify for the second round and then we will reassess our goals. Our toughest opponent will probably be the opening group game against France. They are a really good side.”
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