Iaruel gets taste of professional life

Young goalkeeper Seiloni Iaruel has arrived in the United Kingdom for a series of trials with professional clubs and has already been given a taste of what life could be like if he is able to secure a contract.

Seiloni Iaruel, right, and Tafea president Saby Natonga at the
Stoke City academy.

The Vanuatu international is set to try his luck with Stoke City and may also put his skills to the test at fellow English Premier League outfits Manchester City and Everton.

He arrived in Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday and was welcomed in fitting fashion with a tour of the club's impressive training facilities.

The Tafea player has been accompanied to England by his current club's president, Saby Natonga, and the pair were shown around the Stoke City academy, as well as getting the chance to check out the training set-up of the first team, who finished 14th in last season's premier league.

Iaruel has received a warm reception from Kevin Scott, the club's academy recruitment manager, who sees no reason why the exciting prospect can't make a positive impression during his time at Stoke.

“We are very happy to have a player from the Pacific Islands come to the club," Scott says.

"We have players from all over the world in our squad and to welcome someone from a small country like Vanuatu is very encouraging because, when you look at top players like Ronaldo and Nani, they come from very small villages and today they play professional football.”

Iaruel, 17, officially begins his trial today and is looking forward to showing what he can do.

"These kind of chances only come around once and I will do everything I possibly can to enter one of these teams for the good of football in Vanuatu," he says.

The Vanuatu Football Federation academy product earned the opportunity after impressing Australia-based Stoke City agent Andrew Parkes on a trip to Brisbane in March with the Vanuatu U-23 team, who were preparing for the OFC Men's Olympic Qualifier at the time.

If he does manage to put pen to paper on a deal, he is likely to find a degree of fame and fortune unheard of for any other Ni-Vanuatu footballer.

He would become the third player to enter the professional ranks since the Pacific's finest players were on show at the OFC Nations Cup in June, following in the footsteps of Solomon Islands' Benjamin Totori and New Caledonia's Georges Gope-Fenepej, who signed with Wellington Phoenix and French Ligue 1 side ESTAC Troyes respectively.

For more on Vanuatu football go to www.vanuafoot.vu

Updated On Monday, August 06, 2012