Football is thriving at Rotorua Boys' High School and now national selectors are starting to take notice.
Rotorua Boys' first XI player Kelvin Cunliffe, 16, will represent his country for the first time during the July school holidays after being selected in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Under-16 team.
The under-16 side along with an under-19 side will travel to Australia to play Australia Secondary Schools and State Secondary Schools teams.
Kelvin, who is the only Rotorua student named in either squad, said finding out he had been selected was a special moment.
"I'm really happy with my achievement, it's very good to make this team. We had two sets of trials and they picked the team from those. It was an email to the people that made it, I couldn't really believe it at first," Kelvin said.
"I'm looking forward to seeing how good the Australian teams are and also getting to know all the other boys from all the other schools. There are some very good players [in the New Zealand team]."
Kelvin was one of four Rotorua football players selected for the University of Waikato Football Academy's 2019 North American Football Tour earlier this year, a trip he said he learned a lot from.
"We finished second and played some good football over there. The benefit was seeing how a different level of football was played overseas and just playing against bigger and more athletic guys."
Last year, the Rotorua Boys' first XI finished third overall at the Malcolm Cowie tournament, the second-tier national secondary school boys' tournament, and finished equal first with the Tauranga Boys' College second XI in the Baywide Youth Premier league.
This year, they are leading the Baywide league and on Tuesday they played St Peter's Cambridge for qualification to the premier secondary schools national tournament later this year.
While Rotorua Boys' lost that game 3-0, they could still go through via a wild card entry.
"This season is going really well. Our coach Mark [Trembath] puts a lot of time into us and puts on really good training sessions. Also, all the boys are really driven to succeed this year."
Trembath said Kelvin was both hard-working and humble.
"Being named in the New Zealand Secondary Schools team is a huge honour for him. We think all our boys are pretty incredible but going up against all the best footballers around New Zealand is a hard task. There was a lot of competition and the fact that he got through is awesome.
"His best quality is definitely his hard-working nature and his commitment to football. I've been involved with him for about five years now and he has always been that kid who puts in extra work. He's very committed to wanting to play high level football and making football work for him.
"The other thing is he's really humble, his humility is incredible. He'll get a lot out of this trip."
New Zealand Secondary School Boys' Under-16 Squad
Luke Allport (Westlake Boys' High School), Fetuao Belcher (Hastings Boys' High School), Billy Check (Nelson College), Fin Conchie (St Peter's School), Oliver Cosgrove (St Thomas of Canterbury College), Kelvin Cunliffe (Rotorua Boys' High School), Lewis Deery (Hutt Valley High School), Regan Diver (Westlake Boys' High School), Riley Grover (Rathkeale College), Oscar Mason (Napier Boys' High School), James Mitchell (Westlake Boys' High School), Luca Molnar (Nelson College), Calum Murdoch (St Thomas of Canterbury College), Rhys Pattimore (Westlake Boys' High School), Dean Power (Westlake Boys' High School), Braedan Quilter-Phipps (New Plymouth Boys' High School), Jordan Toy (Tauranga Boys' College).
Coach: Michael Curry - New Plymouth Boys High School.
Coach: Alex Metzger - Diocesan School.
Manager: Michael Taylor - New Plymouth Boys High School.
Physio: Patrick Peng.
New Zealand Secondary School Boys' Under-19 Squad
Ayokunle Adeyinka (Palmerston North Boys' High School), Noah Boyce (Rathkeale College), Ivan Cibilich (Sacred Heart College), Joshua Creswell (Nelson College), Harry Donald (Tauranga Boys' College), Callum Donlon (St Paul's Collegiate), Maxwell Ericksen (Hamilton Boys' High School), Tyler Ericksen (Hamilton Boys' High School), Scott Hilson (Palmerston North Boys' High School), Dylan Lonia-Hughes (Green Bay High School), Risias Mutonhori (St Thomas of Canterbury College), George Ott (St Paul's Collegiate), Stanley Rust (Tauranga Boys' College), Benjamin Stephenson (King's College), Luis Toomey (Napier Boys' High School), Campbell Wallace (Palmerston North Boys' High School), David Wilson (Howick College).
Coach: Steven Coleman.
Coach: Chad Coombes - Onehunga High School.
Manager: Scott Furness - Tauranga Boys' College.
Physio: Jonathan Pledger.