Class Act 2001: Andrew Boyens

Andrew Boyens plays for the Red Bulls in New York. Photo from Getty Images.
Andrew Boyens plays for the Red Bulls in New York. Photo from Getty Images.
Andrew Boyens is fulfilling a childhood ambition of playing professional football overseas.

"I've ended up doing what I dreamed of doing since I was a kid," the former Kavanagh College pupil said, days before his New York Red Bulls played in the Major League Football final in the United States.

The result of that November 23 final was not a good one for Boyens - he broke his arm and did not play when his team lost to the Columbus Crew.

But immediately after, he flew home and tomorrow at Hanmer Springs he will marry fellow former Kavanagh College pupil Claire Kinraid.

Boyens' team plays in the Giants Stadium, home to the New York Giants American football team, and draws 10,000 to 15,000 fans per game.

The MLS league is the same one in which David Beckham plays and in which former All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen competed before signing a contract with Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League.

Boyens (25), left for college in the US in August 2004, returning briefly to Otago to finish his commerce degree in 2006.

After two years playing college football for the University of New Mexico, he was drafted by Toronto FC, playing more than 20 games for the side in the MLS before being released and trialling for New York.

At the time of his signing there, one American commentator said the "6-foot-4" defender would provide much-needed size and depth in central defence for the Red Bulls.

Boyens' contract has him training five days a week and travelling throughout the US at weekends to visit each of the 14 teams in the league at least once a year.

He also plays for the New Zealand side - it was former All Whites coach Mick Waite who in 2003 alerted him to the fact US colleges were looking for players.

At home, he had played for Dunedin Technical in the national and southern leagues and for Otago United in the national league.

In January, he will return to Otago to take holiday football camps for 8 to 14-year-olds, in conjunction with Soccersouth.

Boyens, who also holds a bachelor of arts, majoring in geography, says the professional sporting world is "really cut-throat" and being let go by a team is hard.

However, being paid to do what he loves had been a highlight since leaving school.

"I would like to play professional football in Europe at some stage," he adds.

"But the sporting industry is a relatively volatile one to be in, so I don't really know where I will be until I'm there."


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