The 2018 team selection for Missouri in the United States is a mixed bag of talent from all over the world. The team is comprised of a majority of international or foreign players, with local or domestic players only filling eight spots. Of the 18 foreigners, four hail from New Zealand. The balance of the quota is made up of players from the United Kingdom, Sweden and Italy.
New Zealand Players Road to the States
In the past, recruiting from New Zealand was often passed over, because of the distance between the two countries. Today, however, the tides have turned, and the process is finding its feet quite quickly. The opportunity, and accessibility of an experience in the United States, is seeing more youngsters making the grade and moving upwards.
In New Zealand, soccer players start at a young age, playing for local clubs. It is, however, only a select few that are given a chance to train at talent centres on a national level. It is here where the scouts have their pick of players. Many New Zealand school leavers have begun seeking opportunities to play for colleges in the USA, just because the competition is better than at their own local universities. Soccer played in the United States is a much more intense, and physically demanding, composition of the game, than the Kiwis are accustomed to.
Fitting in With the Pack
For the Kiwis who make the trip to play and study in the US, it isn’t always easy, with missing family being probably the hardest part of all. Having some fellow players from back home to console with, makes it a little easier to get through the hard days. The New Zealand additions to the team have made it evidently clear, that the other foreign players have made the transition more manageable. The same sentiment was relayed about the older members of the team.