Secondary sport: Kavanagh pupil sets football sights high

Kavanagh College pupil Ben O'Farrell plans to play football for a European club next year. Photo...
Kavanagh College pupil Ben O'Farrell plans to play football for a European club next year. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Kavanagh College pupil Ben O'Farrell does not know what the future holds for his promising football career, but he is going to leave no stone unturned.

The 17-year-old midfielder hopes to one day represent his country and plans to head to Europe next year to take the next step on that journey.

O'Farrell has experience on the football field many teenagers do not, having already represented the Southern United senior team in the national league this year.

He played four matches off the bench for the southern team, including a 70-minute performance against powerhouse Auckland City FC, which finished third in the Fifa Club World Cup in Morocco in 2014.

"I'd never played anything like it,'' O'Farrell said.

"It was next level compared to anything I'd played before; the pace was much higher.''

O'Farrell, who started playing football when he was 4, plays for Roslyn-Wakari in the Football South premier men's league.

He hopes that experience will be enough to see him join a European club next year, and is eyeing up Iceland, the United Kingdom and France as potential destinations.

He can also draw on lessons learned during his time with the New Zealand under-17 training squad, for which he was selected last year.

O'Farrell missed out on the final squad but his selection showed he is on the national radar.

He also plays futsal and his leadership skills were evident when he led his school to the national secondary schools title in Wellington last month.

After convincing his school to send a team to the tournament, O'Farrell also acted as the side's coach and, along with brother Tim, helped it go all the way.

It won seven consecutive matches and beat Napier Boys' High School in the final.

O'Farrell said he was hoping to make the national futsal side, the Futsal Whites, when a side was selected later this year.


Fast Lane

Age: 17
School: Kavanagh College
Sport: Football
Achievements: Selected in New Zealand under-17 training squad; played four games for Southern United men's team earlier this year; captained school to national secondary schools futsal title last month; made Otago Milk Cup youth squad.



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