Experience with Futsal Whites inspires 17-year-old Elliot Collier
After taking up futsal only this year, it would be fair to say it has been a rapid rise for 17-year-old Elliot Collier.
The year 13 student at St Paul’s Collegiate was recently selected in the New Zealand men’s futsal team, otherwise known as the Futsal Whites, and described the experience as “pretty spectacular”. “It was awesome, amazing. Never had anything like it; it’s been awesome to wear the silver fern.”
While many would be unfamiliar with the sport, futsal is a variation of football – played indoors with teams of five.
Collier’s first action in national colours came in an exhibition match against a Waikato All Star side and he reflected on the game as one of the best things he has experienced.
“Wearing the silver fern, being a part of representing your country and stuff like that, there is nothing like it.
“That game where we played the Waikato All Stars in front of 500 people, wearing the silver fern is pretty spectacular.”
While he may have been named in the side, Collier is working hard to cement his spot in the national team with the hope he will be at the Futsal World Cup in 2016.
“The next big tournament for us would be next year and we’d be going to the Solomon Islands or Fiji, but then again I have to keep performing and do everything I can to stay in the team.”
Since the age of 4, soccer – football for the real fans – has been a normal part of the young teen’s life.
“It’s just my life. It’s been my life; I’ve been playing since I was 4 and haven’t stopped loving it.”
Collier recalls arriving at St Paul’s and receiving a signed ball from coach Mike Groom that translates to “love the ball”.
He has since taken the advice on board and believes this has helped him to continue striving in football.
Now that Collier has had a taste of what it is like to represent his country, he has ambitions to reach further heights in the sport he loves.
“I just want to go as far as I can. I’m doing my best to stay in the team; because it is a four-year plan, my spot is not safe. [I've] got to keep performing, got to keep impressing the coaches, doing my best and then go as far as I can in futsal. Then with football also do the same, see if I can go to America or something like that. Line up a school over there or university.
“I just want to go as high as I can.”
Though his passion for football cannot be questioned, away from the game the promising player values his academic work and takes a strong interest in biology. Football really ruled his life, but academics were important to him as well, he said. “I’m really into my sciences, biology and stuff like that.”
Collier and the school side are preparing for the national secondary schools tournament later this month in Nelson.