Vincent Phirun, 13, is leading the way among a highly talented group of young players in the Western Bay.

The talented midfielder, with a devastating shot for goal off either foot, played his early football for Otumoetai before switching to Mount Maunganui under-13s this season.

During the recent school holidays the Otumoetai Intermediate pupil attended two week-long football camps in Auckland.

The first was at the elite National Talent Centre (NTC) camp held at King's College, where 22 of the best juniors from the Auckland and Northern Football Federations were selected to attend.


It was the second year Vincent had attended the camp. He and Dean Power from Tauranga Intermediate represented Western Bay of Plenty.

A week later he was part of a larger group of hopefuls who trained with coaches from FC Barcelona at Albany Stadium in the hope of gaining a place in pre-season trials in Spain.

Vincent says the NTC camp was beneficial.

"We did theory sessions and some football drills to make better plays on the field. I learnt how to build from the back as well.

"The Barcelona camp was not as intense as I expected but it was fun. I didn't learn as much from them."

Vincent hopes to one day make the New Zealand under-17 squad and rates Argentina and Barcelona super star Lionel Messi as his favourite player.

James Beale coaches the Mount Maunganui under-13 team that is full of talented players with bright futures.

"Vincent is just a skilful player that adds more depth to the side because we have got a lot of good ball players. The more of them you have the more freedom and space they get on the park.

"It creates space for other people, too, by having players of that quality in your side."

Beale says the NTC that Vincent and Dean attended last month is the goal for all the talented young footballers in the Western Bay.

"In this side there are four or five rep players and definitely three or four of them capable of [NTC]. We just have to keep working with them."