By Joan Grey
Legendary Solomon Islands captain Henry Fa’arodo has seen it all — World Cups, A-League campaigns and even playing against England star David Beckham.
Today you’ll find Fa’arodo coaching future Kiwi footballers on the playing fields of Drury, Pukekohe, and Opaheke in South Auckland.
The 39-year-old Fa’arodo is giving back to the game he loves, in his role as head of the Franklin United Youth Talent Centre where he tries to inspire youth players to advance their skills and attitude.
“I just want to help develop the kids within the region as much as I can,” he explains.
He’s the Solomon Islands’ most-capped player
Fa’arodo represented his country a record 64 times, scoring 20 international goals, and he’s arguably his country’s greatest player.
Notably, he played for A-league sides Perth Glory and the Melbourne Knights, and New Zealand national league clubs such as Auckland City, Team Wellington and more recently, Hamilton Wanderers.
He featured alongside Dutch star Edgar Davids in the Oceania All-Stars team that played David Beckham’s LA Galaxy side in Auckland in 2008.
He says a highlight of his career was scoring against the Australian national team including Socceroo stars Tim Cahill, Mark Veduka and AC Milan goalkeeper Zeljko ‘The Spider’ Kalac.
Fa’arodo’s message to young players: ‘Have fun; enjoy it’
“Another favourite goal would have to be against the All Whites in Honiara in the Solomons in 2012 where we narrowly lost 1 – 2,” he adds.
With a wealth of footballing experience in both the Solomon Islands and New Zealand, Fa’arodo admires New Zealand football’s systematic approach and concentration on developing players from an early age.
“One day I want to bring that back to the Solomons, the structure and organization that New Zealand football has, and see if we can develop our younger age group,” says Fa’arodo.
Fa’arodo imparts to aspiring young footballers that motivation is the key to footballing success.
Set yourself realistic goals, and have determination, commitment, and a good attitude.
“Another piece of advice I would give to young players is to have fun; enjoy it.”