Trident is extremely proud to announce that Year 12 student Reuben Barr has secured his place in the Wellington Phoenix Football Academy in 2021. Reuben has played football at Trident since he was in Year 9 and thanks to the coaching and encouragement from his coaches Mr Barr and Mr Stanhope, Reuben has carved his pathway towards professional football. Reuben says that it is an honour that “as a boy from Whakatane, a little town far away from Wellington, I can represent our town as the only player in the Academy from a small town in NZ.” This goes to show the high calibre of footballers that Trident coaches and produces, a real tribute to our school.
Last week Reuben went to Wellington to play football and trial for the Wellington Phoenix u17 Academy and Team Wellington. He was invited by the Phoenix Academy to trial a couple of months back after they saw footage of him playing over the last year. A member of the recruitment team also watched Reuben play at the u19 Football Tournament in Napier earlier this year. Reuben was trialled by way of attending training sessions with existing Academy players. The feedback from the coaches was that rather than stand out due to not having played with the team or at that level, Reuben fit in instantly. He said that this goes back “to the foundations that I built here at Trident which meant it was easy to walk into that high level of game".
For Reuben, football has been a passion since he started kicking a football around as a little boy. Having a football mad father, meant Reuben was exposed to football early on as his father has coached Trident teams for many years. This year he started off playing for Trident, then after attending Whakatane Mens training sessions, was also asked to play in the 2nds team, but during pre-season, the coach pushed him to the top team. Playing with the mens team meant Reuben improved his game significantly and ultimately he was awarded Player of the Season for the Club. As well as improving his game, playing with men, Reuben comments on how impressed he was by the professional culture that surrounds the team, the coaching staff and the players were all great sportspeople and says he has heard it is rare for provincial teams to have such a high level of professionalism. Professionalism is something that Reuben both recognises and respects and he would like to applaud the expertise and professionalism that his Trident coach, Mr Stanhope, has brought to every training, every game and tournament. This has influenced and moulded Reuben’s idea of what it means to be a sportsperson in his chosen sport. Reuben says he will be forever grateful for the input and time Mr Stanhope has gifted him, he feels that he has strong foundations to launch forward from. Reuben wants to push his football career as far as possible with his sight set initially on making it into a professional football team.
In addition to getting into the Academy, Year 12 student Reuben decided with his family to not only set his sights on the coveted placement in Wellington, but also to finish 2020 by gaining not just Level 2, but Level 3 and securing a place at Massey University for 2021 where he will study Industrial Design. All of this and Reuben is just 16 years old. The future is bright for Reuben and we know there will be many televisions in Whakatane turned onto watch his games and collective cheering as he moves through the ranks in his professional football career. The world is your oyster Reuben, you have made your Trident family and our town proud, we wish you all the best!