Queenstown Rovers football club will look south next season as it continues its focus on youth players.
Both the men’s and women’s team are to play in the Southland premier leagues.
Rovers men stepped down from Otago’s Dunedin-centric ODT premier league to the Donald Gray premier last season.
It packed its squad with teenagers, complemented by a sprinkling of experienced players.
Rovers coach Jamie Whitmarsh says despite winning that league at a canter they’ll stay another season to
“We’ve got a three-year plan and want to develop our boys further.”
The plan is to introduce more youngsters to the squad, to give them a taste of adult football.
Whitmarsh: “We’ll see probably even 14-year-olds getting a run this year.”
Rovers women, by contrast, moved up from Southland’s Kolk Cup Premier League to the tougher Dunedin Kingsgate Women’s Premier League last season.
They finished fourth of six teams.
Whitmarsh says: “It didn’t go that bad but they’re doing the same as us.
“There’s a transition with some of the senior players moving away from playing football.”
It will primarily be a high school-aged team, the Londoner says.
“Some of the teams in Dunedin are really good.
“So to go down there again with a completely young team would be almost folly.”
Whitmarsh says the eventual goal is to have both teams competing strongly in the Dunedin league.
Pre-season training begins in January.