Te Awamutu AFC's 2018 Junior Football Team of the Year, 13th Grade Raiders, are in for a trip of a lifetime.
The team will be competing at the 2019 Gothia Cup tournament in Sweden commencing on July 15, 2019.
The week-long tournament, first launched in 1975, is the largest youth tournament in the world, hosting over 1700 teams from 80 countries.
The Manu Jones coached Te Awamutu AFC Raiders, sponsored by Gothenburg Restaurant in Hamilton, are the first New Zealand team to register for the event since 1992.
Jones has coached a core group of players from the team for the past five years.
A visiting coach who had previously attended the Gothia Cup suggested that he consider entering the team in the tournament.
The players and parents were keen to be involved, making it an easy decision to enter the team.
Jones spent an anxious night waiting beside the computer when entries opened in August last year.
"Within four hours of team registrations opening on line, the tournament was fully booked out," said Jones.
"The Raiders will be one of 170 teams competing in the 13-year-old age group. The Gothia Cup tournament organisers are very excited to have a team from New Zealand attending and are keen to run a profile about the team on their media platforms."
Club president David Hall said it is the first time that Te Awamutu AFC has taken a team this far abroad.
"It will be an amazing experience for these young developing players," he said.
"We have a number of fundraising events planned in our local and wider community to help offset the significant cost of getting to this tournament, starting with a beach football competition at Anchor Park on Saturday and Sunday this coming weekend.
"We would also like to give local businesses an opportunity to be involved in supporting our team reach their goal through sponsorship options."
Some of the fundraising events coming up are:
- Beach Football competition at Anchor Park, Te Awamutu on February 16, 17.
- Motorcycle Fun Run with a penalty shootout at several locations across the Waikato region on March 9.
- Motocross event — location and date to be confirmed in March.
- Outdoor Movie night at Te Awamutu Stadium, April 13.
- Mini Golf Tournament at Te Awamutu's Tee A Mini Putt, April 15.
- Fundraising dinner at Te Awamutu Golf Club, May 4.
- Quiz night at Waipā Workingmen's Club, May 25.
The team is involved selling jars of Honey generously supplied by Rapanui Bees and using a Givealittle page created for the Te Awamutu Raiders.
For further details contact Dave Hall 021 253 7979 or Manu Jones 027 237 9569.