Football-mad Ramsbottom youngster returns to UK from New Zealand to take part in prestigious tournament (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Football-mad Ramsbottom youngster returns to UK from New Zealand to take part in prestigious tournament
5:50pm Monday 19th August 2013 in News
A FOOTBALL-MAD youngster who moved from Ramsbottom to New Zealand with his family seven years ago has returned to take part in a prestigious competition.
Billy Jones, 15, previously of Bolton Street, competed in the finals of the Manchester United World Premier Cup with his team, Onehunga Football Club.
While his under-15s team were defeated at the group stages, Billy and his family were ecstatic the young sportsman had made it so far in the worldwide contest.
The tournament, which took place between August 6 and August 9 at Manchester United Football Club, saw 8,000 teams from across the globe whittled down to a top 20 Billy, previously a pupil at Old Hall School on Springside View, moved to Auckland in 2006 after his parents fell in love with the country while visiting friends in 2005.
His favourite moments of the competition were playing against Arsenal and being part of the atmosphere at the event’s opening ceremony.
Billy said: “Taking part was the best experience of my life and if I had the chance I would do it all over again.
“I was thrilled to have family watching — even cousins, aunties and uncles came out to support me.
“It was a shame I could not have stayed on for longer but as I had mock exams I had to go back to New Zealand straight after the tournament.”
Billy and the rest of the Onehunga U15s team started preparation for the Nike World Cup in October 2012.
They beat teams from across New Zealand and the top teams from each Australian state to win their place, with Billy scoring the deciding penalty in their final match.
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