Phoenix to host female youth tournament during FIFA Women’s World Cup

The Wellington Phoenix academy will host a three-day tournament in the Hutt Valley with young female teams from Japan and the United States.

The inaugural Manaaki Invitational will be staged to coincide with dates when the United States and Japanese national sides are in Wellington for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Two youth teams from J-League club Shonan Bellmare, as well as American sides representing and California FC will play matches against Phoenix academy teams and each other.

The academy’s Fraser Park training base in Lower Hutt will host the first two days of the tournament next Thursday and Friday (July 27 and 28), with the final game to be staged at the state-of-the-art New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport (NZCIS) in Upper Hutt on Sunday (July 30).

Main photo: The state-of-the-art NZCIS facilities in Upper Hutt. Photo credit: NZCIS.

The Phoenix academy will also host 25 representatives from United Soccer Coaches and will hold a coaching seminar on Friday morning.

Academy operations manager Eilish Graves is thrilled to host Shonan Bellmare,, California FC and United Soccer Coaches next week.

“The main focus of the Manaaki Invitational is to show respect and hospitality to the visiting teams during their stay in Aotearoa New Zealand for the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” Graves said. “It’s all really in the name!

“As well as the games, which we as an academy are excited for, we are looking forward to the opportunity for our players and coaches to connect with their international peers.

Katie Barrott … ‘we want to be a world-class programme.’

“We’re sure the Manaaki Invitational will provide a unique experience for all involved and will be the beginning of many lasting friendships.”

Academy female development lead Katie Barrott says there is a real buzz around the academy with the FIFA Women’s World Cup on their doorstep.

“We are really proud to be hosting teams from the U.S.A. and Japan during the World Cup,” Barrott said. “We want to be a female programme that is world-class, and having the opportunity to learn and explore what other female academies are doing is something that really excites me.

“To expose our players to different styles of play, different cultures and different players is a massive part of their development.

“They are all excited not only for the football opportunity it presents, but also the chance to make new friendships and understand different cultures.”

The public are welcome to watch all the matches during the Manaaki Invitational, with the following playing schedule:

Thursday July 27, 2023

7:30-8:30am – Shonan Bellmare (younger age-group) vs Phoenix U-15s – Fraser Park Turf

8:35-9:35am – vs Phoenix U-17s – Fraser Park Turf

9:35-10:35am – Shonan Bellmare (older age-group) vs Phoenix reserves – Fraser Park Turf

Friday July 28, 2023

12:30-1:30pm – Shonan Bellmare (older age-group) vs – Fraser Park Turf

1:45-2:45pm – California FC U-14s s Phoenix U-15s – Fraser Park Turf

3:00-4:30pm – vs Phoenix reserves – Fraser Park Turf

4:45-5:45pm – Shonan Bellmare (younger age-group) vs California FC U-14s – Fraser Park Turf

Sunday July 30, 2023

9am – Phoenix U-17s vs California FC U-14s – NZCIS

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