Team Wellington’s combative midfielder Andy Bevin cannot wait to return home to play his former club Hawkes Bay United in this weekend’s key fixture.
A product of Napier Boys High School- Bevin is looking forward to playing in front of close friends and family. Bevin admits the encounter gives his parents Sean and Theresa mixed feelings- as they are torn between their loyal support for Andy and their beloved HBU. Andy expects there will be no love lost- as he will be playing against his childhood friend Fergus Neill and former Team Wellington player Saul Halpin.
A hard-working attacking midfielder, Bevin credits much of his success to his early days in ‘the Bay’. It was there Bevin’s exceptional talents were recognised following selection for Napier City Rovers as a fresh-faced 16-year-old. The support given to him from a talented coaching panel led to rapid success. Within a short space of time, Bevin went on to represent New Zealand at the U-17 and U-20 FIFA World Cup in 2009 and 2011 respectively.
His achievements did not stop there. Bevin would go on to accept a scholarship at West Virginia University. By the time he left WVU, he would finish 7th all-time in the college scoring list with 31 goals. Bevin’s achievements in the US culminated in selection for Major League Soccer franchise Seattle Sounders in January, 2015.
Despite his success- Bevin decided the time was right to pursue work and football opportunities back home. Following a short stint with South Melbourne, Bevin started fulltime work at an IT consultancy based in New Zealand’s capital and signed with Team Wellington in October 2015.
Although now back home, Bevin believes he will never forget his experience aboard. He excelled in an ultra-competitive environment at WVU- a place where students trained 6 days per week and were given access to top of the range facilities and sports gear. The college culture was one of self-promotion- where performance stats were paramount.
A major emphasis placed on fitness, size and athleticism at WVU instilled a discipline and level of stamina that has never left him since. Bevin does not doubt that his continued focus on fitness allows him to fulfil the demanding role of wing back at Team Wellington.
Whilst New Zealand football does not possess the same level of funding and infrastructure as the US- Bevin does believe New Zealanders can still learn a lot from the ultra-competitive mentality of American college sportspeople.
Without doubt, Team Wellington can at least rely on another determined effort from its star midfielder to match an extra-special sporting occasion.
- Rory Milne