Auckland City sign former England youth international ahead of OFC play-offs

Northern League champions Auckland City have signed former England youth international Joe Ridley in time for their OFC Champions League showdown with Wellington Olympic.

Ridley (20) is a winger who earned five caps for England’s U-16 national team, playing alongside the likes of midfielder Jude Bellingham, now a full England international who plays for Real Madrid.

Others in the 2018 England U-16 team included current English Premier League players Harvey Elliott (Liverpool), Levi Colwill (Chelsea) and Aaron Ramsey (Burnley).

Ridley was with the youth academy at Middlesbrough, currently in the English Championship, for 10 years, joining them from Darlington when he was an U-10 player.

Main photo: Joe Ridley … enjoying life in Auckland. Photo credit: ACFC Media.

“I just fancied a change,” he told Auckland City’s media team of his decision to move to New Zealand.

Ridley says he was “absolutely over the moon” to join Auckland City and was keen to help the club win more trophies.

City’s head coach Albert Riera said Ridley had arrived with a positive approach and was open to new ideas.

“His mindset is second to none,” Riera told supporters through the club’s social media channels.

As well as playing for Auckland City, Ridley will work as a coach with The Pro Project NZ in central Auckland.

In March, Auckland City will face national champions Wellington Olympic in a two-legged play-off to decide which club represents New Zealand at the OFC Champions League tournament in Tahiti from May 11-24, 2024.


OFC Men’s Champions League

National play-offs — first leg

Game to be played on Saturday March 9, 2024

Auckland City v Wellington Olympic
Kiwitea St, Auckland, 2pm

National play-offs — second leg

Game to be played on Saturday March 16, 2024

Wellington Olympic v Auckland City
Martin Luckie Park, Wellington, 2pm

More fixtures

READ MORE: Schedule of fixtures for OFC Men’s Champions League national play-offs >>>>

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