Ricki Herbert’s dream kick-off

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All Whites coach Ricki Herbert has a new dream.

And it’s not just seeing the New Zealand national side doing well at the soccer World Cup in South Africa in June.

Herbert was in Queenstown last Saturday for the launch of his new elite soccer school for youngsters, the 82 Football Academy. Its $400 four-day courses for youngsters began this week.

Herbert told those assembled at its Jack’s Point base near the Remarkables that anything is possible for kids who attend.

“I was born and bred in South Auckland, a strong rugby-orientated part of the country. I never played rugby or any other sport. I only invested my time in football.

“I’m not sure if there was a strong rationale for that but I had a dream and a vision and managed to represent my country, I managed to play professionally abroad and now I’m managing a team going to the World Cup.

“So for me anything is possible for the children. We’re going to make it great and we’re going to make it happen,” Herbert says.

Herbert’s academy, which he co-owns with resort-based former Aussie soccer pro Richard Johnson, is already off to a flying start after securing entry for an under-14 team to the prestigious Mediterranean International Cup in Barcelona in April.

The long-running tournament attracts youth teams from glory clubs such as Real Madrid and Manchester United, and has proved a breeding ground for stars such as Brazilian hotshot Ronaldinho. Local soccer nut and academy business manager Peter Waters says: “There’s a very big world out there – we need to get these children some exposure to it.”