Young footballers from St Mary’s School with Wairarapa United players Daniel Allan (left), Coey Turipa, Sam Mason-Smith and Cameron Lindsay. PHOTO/JAKE BELESKI

JAKE BELESKI

jake.beleski@age.co.nz

The hunt for the next generation of Wairarapa United footballers continued at St Mary’s School in Carterton on Wednesday.

St Mary’s is one of several schools across Wairarapa which is receiving specialist training from some of the Wairarapa United men’s team.

Captain Sam Mason-Smith was joined by Cameron Lindsay, Daniel Allan and Coey Turipa to put the pupils through their paces on a damp and muddy field at the school.

The conditions didn’t worry the children, however, as they got stuck into the drills and activities.

It is part of a campaign being run throughout this school term — funded by Trust House — which sees members of the United squad visit schools all over Wairarapa, at no cost to the schools.

The aim was to give the children, many of whom may not otherwise have had the opportunity, a chance to receive some coaching from the best players in the region.

Five-year-old Myla Olszewski was part of the new entrant class who participated in one of yesterday’s sessions, and said she had a “really good time”.

Myla Olszewski scoring a goal at Wednesday’s session. PHOTO/JAKE BELESKI

Her favourite activities were jogging and scoring goals, and she said she would like to play football in the future.

On Monday, the United players were at Carterton School, and Tuesday and Wednesday were spent at St Mary’s.

On Thursday they will be at Lakeview School, and on Friday they are off to South End School.

Mason-Smith said they would also be visiting schools in Greytown, Featherston and Martinborough at various times, and was delighted to be able to provide their expertise at such a broad range of schools.

“We’ve held sessions at some schools before, but the funding from Trust House means we can offer it to more schools across a wider area,” he said.

The sessions catered for pupils in all primary school year groups.

They were always on the lookout for players who could represent Wairarapa in the future, he said.

“There’s some great athletes in Wairarapa, and you never know, we might be able to convince some people who haven’t played before to take it up as well.”