New Zealand U17s Men Select 5 Christchurch United Academy Graduates

Academy Player Pathway
Christchurch United Academy Graduates Shine on the Global Stage: Ready to represent New Zealand in the Men's U-17 Squad!

Celebrating the Success of Nicholas Murphy, Jackson Cole, Eric Sugahara, Mac Prathumphithak, and Matt Foord

Canterbury is buzzing with excitement as Christchurch United Football Club football pathways are showing evidence of having not one, but five of its talented Academy graduates selected to represent New Zealand in the prestigious men's U-17 squad preparing for the highly anticipated FIFA U-17 World Cup 2023. This remarkable achievement places Christchurch United at the forefront of youth development, with the club proudly claiming the distinction of having the second-highest number of players from any single club in this national team.

Meet the Academy Graduates:

  • Nicholas Murphy
  • Jackson Cole
  • Eric Sugahara
  • Mac Prathumphithak
  • Matt Foord

The upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup holds enormous significance for these young football prodigies, and they are leaving no stone unturned in their preparation. To further hone their skills and showcase their immense talent, the five young stars will participate in two high-stakes international friendlies against New Caledonia in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland this August. The games are scheduled for Tuesday 8 and Thursday 10 August 2023, with both matches kicking off at 3 pm.

The presence of these exceptional players, all hailing from the South Island, marks a historic shift in national team selections. In recent decades, it was a rarity to see more than one or two players from the South Island representing New Zealand, if any at all. However, Christchurch United's dedication to nurturing young talent and the hard work of many other clubs in the region have ignited a revolution in youth development. This change is a testament to the remarkable progress that has been made, and it reflects the growing recognition of the immense potential that lies within the South Island.

Among the five stars, Nicholas, Jackson, Mac, and Eric currently wear the blue Christchurch United jersey, representing the club in various senior competitions. Meanwhile, Matt Foord, who is part of Cashmere Technical, was also nurtured in the Christchurch United Academy during his formative years. This showcases the club's unwavering commitment to nurturing talent and providing a platform for players to realize their full potential.

The exceptional talent coming through the ranks of Christchurch United caught the keen eye of Aaron Clapham, a renowned Christchurch-based coach and former All White player himself. His invaluable expertise as the current assistant coach of the U-17 side played a pivotal role in identifying and nurturing the potential in Christchurch's youth, propelling them onto the national stage.

As the excitement builds, All Whites fans and supporters will eagerly await news about the venue for these high-octane friendlies. Due to ongoing utilization of grounds for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, the specific venue will be announced at a later date. The good news for football enthusiasts is that both games will be open to the public and free to watch, providing an opportunity to witness these rising stars in action before they embark on their journey to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Indonesia, starting on 10 November 2023.

Men's U-17 head coach, Martin Bullock, expresses his enthusiasm for the upcoming fixtures, recognizing the significance of competitive international matches in shaping the squad's performance ahead of the prestigious global event. Bullock emphasizes the importance of high-quality game time to help players develop further and seize the chance to secure their spots in the final squad.

Christchurch United Football Club could not be prouder of Nicholas Murphy, Jackson Cole, Eric Sugahara, Mac Prathumphithak, and Matt Foord, as they prepare to represent New Zealand.. These talented youngsters are a testament to the club's commitment to nurturing football excellence, and their journey is set to inspire generations to come.