Fifa field of dreams

Memorial Park has been pencilled in as a training venue for the Fifa Under-20 World Cup next year.

It could provide a massive boost for the Taieri football community and lead to a spruce-up of the Mosgiel ground.

Tournament competitions director Michelle Hooper said a Fifa site inspection team had checked Memorial Park during a recent tour of the South's match and training facilities.

The group promoting Memorial Park's attributes impressed the inspection team, she said.

''The delegates were impressed with the enthusiasm of the club delegates towards hosting team training sessions, and the training pitch and facilities were assessed in consideration for this purpose.

''The venue was selected as a preferred training venue for the tournament.''

The ground's use is subject to a final turf inspection being conducted by Fifa turf consultant STRI in May.

A final agreement will also need to be signed between the local organising committee and contracting authority for the training venue and facilities.

Mosgiel club president Pat Howell hopes the park will tick all the boxes.

''We'd be quite excited about the prospect of being involved in the tournament,'' Howell said.

''It's a fantastic opportunity to see some of the best players in the world. For Otago football, in general, it's massive.''

The Mosgiel club celebrated its centenary last year. The clubrooms were in good shape and the grounds were in reasonable nick, Howell said.

''There's probably not much more to be done ... But we'll just wait and see what happens when they come out and have another look.''

Memorial Park also featured the last time Otago played a role in hosting a world football tournament.

In 1999, before the Fifa Under-17 World Cup kicked off at Carisbrook, the Mosgiel ground hosted a warm-up game between the Junior All Whites and Paraguay. It finished in a 2-2 draw and attracted about 3000 fans.

The under-20 tournament, Fifa's second-biggest, features the absolute cream of world football's young prospects.

The tournament kicks off on May 30, 2015. Otago Stadium is hosting seven games.

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