Welcome home Eric Imachi Sugahara

Club Academy Player Pathway
Christchurch United Football Club has been making waves in New Zealand's football scene in 2023, not only the senior mens first team going unbeaten in all competitions as we head into June but also offering young talents a football pathway to reach their full potential. One shining example of this success is Eric Imachi Sugahara, a New Zealand U17 International player who today made his first-team debut in a thrilling 3-1 Chatham Cup victory over UC Football. With a rich history of nurturing talent, Christchurch United has become a breeding ground for future stars, as evidenced by the numerous Academy players who have made their senior team debuts in recent years.

Eric Imachi Sugahara's football journey began when he signed up with Christchurch United's Pre-Academy programme. For the next six years, he worked diligently, progressing through the club's age groups and honing his skills under the club's expert coaching staff. Spending the next year away from the club, his continued dedicated training and development paid off when Eric's talent caught the attention of national selectors, and in January 2023, he was selected to represent New Zealand in the U17 World Cup qualifying squad.

Eric Imachi Sugahara is not the only talented player to emerge from Christchurch United's academy. In fact, he is the 13th academy player to earn a senior team debut since 2019. The club's commitment to nurturing young talent has yielded impressive results, with these players making a significant impact on the field.

Mac Prathumphithak and Tommy Chao, who debuted earlier in 2023, have already shown immense potential and promise. Similarly, in the 2022 National League, Nick Murphy, Daniel Meyn, and Jackson Cole displayed their skills and earned their senior team debuts. The Southern League also witnessed the rise of Frewen Watts, Diego Lavin, Jago Godden, and Noa Prestel, who made their mark on the field earlier in 2022. Additionally, Zach Bennett, Oscar Obel-Hall and Luke Pennington, who made their debuts in recent years, highlight the club's consistent ability to produce top-tier talent.

Christchurch United Football Club's success in nurturing talented players can be attributed to several factors. First and foremost, the club's robust youth development program provides a solid foundation for ambitious footballers, focusing on skill development, tactical understanding, and physical fitness. The coaching staff's expertise and dedication play a vital role in shaping the players and preparing them for higher levels of competition.

Furthermore, Christchurch United's strategic partnerships and collaborations with other clubs, academies, and national associations contribute to the players' growth and exposure. This network ensures that the players have opportunities to showcase their skills in high-profile tournaments and gain invaluable experience against top-level opposition.

As Christchurch United's legacy continues to grow, aspiring footballers in the region can look to the club as a pathway to pursue their dreams. With a proven track record of nurturing talents and providing opportunities for growth, Christchurch United Football Club remains an invaluable stepping stone towards achieving success in the beautiful game.

Main photo courtesy of Belinda Marson Photography taken at this weekends U20s game