Clarke chosen for Junior All Whites

  28 May 2013   Hutt News   Player News
Clarke chosen for Junior All Whites

Source: Hutt News


Continuing a tradition of Petone nurturing top goalkeepers, Daniel Clarke has been named in the Junior All Whites squad to head to next month's under-20 World Cup in Turkey.


Club stalwart Steve Minogue has congratulated the 19-year-old and notes he's the latest product of "quite a little goalkeeping factory we have at Petone".


Former All Whites keepers from the club are James Bannatyne, Rudi Feitsma and the current goalkeeping coach who has had a strong influence on Clarke, Barry Pickering.


Junior All Whites coach Chris Milicich also named Lower Hutt's Scott Basalaj and Hamish Watson in his World Cup squad.


Clarke says he started playing football when he lived in Waikanae and made the Wellington College second XI.


He first came out to Petone three years ago when he was a year 11 student because he knew the coach of the club's second team, Guy Smith.


He worked his way up to securing the Petone premier team keeper spot.


At the same time as gaining experience at Petone, Clarke's career with Team Wellington has blossomed.


After two years in their youth team, he was named in the senior side last year, making his debut against Hawke's Bay in the last game of the 2012 season.


As well as Pickering and the "opportunities Petone gives young players", he names Team Wellington coach and NZ U20 goalkeeping coach Mark Oates and Phoenix keeper Jonathan Guild as major influences.


The Junior All Whites squad includes two other keepers - Basalaj and Oxford United-based Kiwi Max Crocombe.


Other goalies also made strong bids for the slots.


"It was a close decision I'm told but I always knew I had a chance," Clarke says.


The squad gathers in Auckland on June 7 before travelling to Wollongong for a warm-up match against the Young Socceroos.


They then travel to Turkey for pre-tournament games against Iraq and Egypt before their World Cup opener against Uzbekistan on June 23.


Clarke suspects that whether he gets World Cup game time ahead of Basalaj and Crocombe will depend on his performance in the three warm-ups.


Aside from matches in the US three years ago as a member of the Wellington Tornadoes, Clarke says this will be the first time he has played overseas.


He'll be away from his Bachelor of Commerce studies at Victoria University for a month and says, perhaps with just a little glee, that includes missing an exam.


"But I guess I'll be able to sit it when I get back."

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