Professional Leagues & Overseas Placement
Olé have a track record of facilitating pathways for young, kiwi players into professional clubs and other leagues overseas.
In 2018, Olé established Torslanda IK as a partner club in Sweden, run by Olé alumni and former All White Dan Keat. This came about as a way to support young, kiwi players as they transition overseas, giving them a European platform and environment to acclimate and train and play at a professional level. It also serves as a base to go on trial at other clubs around Europe.
With a network of established agents and former players, Olé is also able to provide other avenues for young players to gain exposure in Europe and sign professional contracts or play in other overseas leagues. Most recently, Marko Stamenic has signed for Danish Superliga club FC Kopenhagn, and three Olé graduates Elijah Just, Callum McCowatt and Dalton Wilkins are playing with FC Helsingør in the Danish First Division.
Nando Pijnaker’s Olé Story
Nando’s journey with Olé began when his family completed an expression of interest, requesting the academy staff observe him at the National Age Group Tournament in Wellington, where he was playing for Waikato Bay of Plenty.
After a trial, Nando was accepted into the academy and moved from Ngongotaha, Rotorua to live in residence at Olé and train full-time. Nando moved through the academy, playing for the Reserve Team and later the First Team, where he became a stalwart Centre Back for Western Suburbs FC, helping the team to a second place finish in Central League and a Chatham Cup Final in 2018.
Nando then went on to play in the 2018-19 Eastern Suburbs AFC team with 10 other Olé players, and was a starting Centre Back for the team as they went on to win the ISPS Handa Premiership and qualify for OFC Champions League.
Nando was also named in New Zealand’s 2019 U20 World Cup side, where he played in all four games at the tournament. Following the World Cup in Poland, Nando stayed in Europe, joining Olé partner club Torslanda IK in Sweden. This served as a base for him to continue training and playing, while also trialing at clubs around Europe.
After a 10 day trial, Nando signed his first professional contract in January 2020 for Swiss Challenge League club Grasshopper. Following a short time at Grasshopper, Nando has made a move to Portugal where he’s signed a four-year deal with Primeira Liga club Rio Ave.
In November 2019, Nando made his All Whites debut against Lithuania. Nando competed at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games for the New Zealand U23 side, the ‘Oly-Whites,’ where he was the starting Centre Back in all games as the team made history going through to the Quarter-Final, bowing out to hosts Japan on penalties.
Olé players have been placed in the following overseas clubs:
- Ryan Thomas (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands)
- Tyler Lisette (IFK Värnamo, Sweden)
- Kyle Adams (Real Monarchs, USA)
- Elliot Collier (Chicago Fire, USA)
- Noah Billingsley (Minnesota United, USA)
- Andrew Withers (Port Melbourne SC, Australia)
- Jesse Edge (IFK Berga, Sweden)
- Nando Pijnaker (Rio Ave F.C., Portugal)
- Callum McCowatt (FC Helsingør, Denmark)
- Marko Stamenic (F.C. Copehagen, Denmark)
- Matt Garbett (Torino FC, Italy)
- Elijah Just (FC Helsingør, Denmark)
- Dalton Wilkins (FC Helsingør, Denmark)
- Owen Parker-Price (Torslanda IK, Sweden)
- Dominic Wooldridge (Torslanda IK, Sweden)
- Harry Edge (Torslanda IK, Sweden)
- Sean Bright (Torslanda IK, Sweden)
- Ryan Feutz (Torslanda IK, Sweden)
- Josh Rogerson (Torslanda IK, Sweden)