Rotorua's Nathan Monne is ready to take the next step on the path towards professional football.

The 19-year-old has received a scholarship to play NJCAA Division 1 football, or soccer as they call it, for Iowa Western in the United States.

Monne attended John Paul College and Rotorua Boys' High School before moving to St Peter's School in Cambridge with the hope of being noticed by an American college.

"I got an agent and sent them video footage from my club team, Tauranga City, and they put together a highlights reel and some full game stuff then sent it away to schools in America."


He locked in the deal with Iowa three weeks ago.

"It felt great. I was choosing between two, this one and a school in California. I chose Iowa because they have a lot of quality players and I have a good mate over there. They're one of the top schools in the division, so hopefully I can go over there and win some titles and some silverware as well."

Monne will be at the school for four years and is looking forward to developing his game.

"Hopefully I can try for a pro contract after that. I'm looking forward to being in a new team and making new connections - the boys will be your brothers at the end of the day so I'm real keen to get to know them.

"I've never been to America before and I'm looking forward to getting to know a new culture, having new experiences and making new friends. The sport is growing over there too, the crowds are real good in the MLS in the top leagues, they sell out stadiums. If I could make it to that level I'd be stoked.

"It's good that I'll be getting an education at the same time, so if it doesn't work out I have something to fall back on. I'm going to do early childhood education, I've always liked kids and coached them."

He has been playing football since he was 6 and has always loved the game. In 2011 he was part of an under-12 team who qualified to represent New Zealand at the Danone Nations Cup in Madrid, his first taste of international football.

Last year he played in France for three months at a third division club for the under-20s and spent time training with the first team at Gold Coast United in Australia.


"I enjoy playing because I love the feeling it gives you when you score a goal, you beat a player or you make a good pass. I like the team ethic side of it as well, you win as a team.

"Apparently the heat over there is a big challenge. My friend told me the heat is unbelievable, he said you can't even breathe. I'll just have to keep hydrated and do some extra hours in the gym on conditioning.

"The biggest areas I want to work on are the physical aspects - getting faster, getting stronger, putting in those hours at the gym. That's the thing over there, the set-up is amazing. You stay in the dorm with the pitch and the gym right next to you."

Monne said he owed a lot to all the people back home who had helped him get to this point.

"There used to be a football academy in Rotorua and Ian Walker and Jason Walker were a good coach and mentor for me. When I went to St Peter's it was them who helped guide me there. Jason played professionally over in England, so he helped me a lot."