As one door closes, another opens with the start of the Lotto Federation Football League on Saturday. This was the message given to New Plymouth Rangers youngsters when news of Team Taranaki’s demise was announced.
Rangers open their season against Red Sox Manawatu in Palmerston North brimming with confidence and a young squad this weekend. Eight players are still in their teens and have impressed in the preseason fixtures, earning their spots in the eighteen man squad. The youngest, Tyler Snow, is only fifteen years old but has shown he has the technique and ability to compete at this level. Club chairman Monty Ammundsen says Rangers continue to work hard on player development. “It is exciting to have a core of youth making it into the top team”.
Young footballers in Taranaki that strive to play the highest level, have looked to Team Taranaki previously so when they pulled the plug in the summer it could’ve left a period of uncertainty. Ammundsen says “Players need to have a pathway to competitive leagues. Rangers has a strong foundation to enable young players to have these opportunities”
Rangers are coming off a successful 2017 debut season where they achieved second place behind Havelock North and will look to take that momentum into the new season. The squad has been training for two months now under new head coach Malcolm Bourgoise and he knows they can’t take this Red Sox team lightly “They are a good side that will want to start the season well at home but we are prepared”.
Wade Randle will captain the squad this year in his second year at the club. Randle, still only 23 is one of the more senior players and has shown strong leadership in the preseason. He brings a wealth of experience at a higher level with Team Taranaki and Palmerston North Marist.
New Plymouth Rangers Federation Squad: James Burroughs, Peter Kelbrick, Max Middleton, Niall Leggett, Devan Leggett, Ethan Bird, Isaac Bailey, Joel Willetts, John Sigurdsson, Tyler Snow, Jason Osborne, Wade Randle, Taku Warren, Sean Mosquera, Keith Mudawarima, Dominico Squatriti Jnr, Mykah Emeny, Joshua Herlihy. Coach – Malcolm Bourgoise