Ten young Maori and Pacific Island children had the time of their lives thanks to an initiative by Wellington Phoenix and West Ham United's Maori defender Winston Reid.

The youngsters, from the Kelvin Road School in the Auckland suburb of Papakura, love their football, but their parents have never been able to afford to buy them boots to play in.

That all changed as The Phoenix partnered with Winston Reid's Aotearoa Footballers' Charitable Trust, Maori Football New Zealand and Banks Shoes to help give the youngsters get a taste of professional football.

Reid, who is of Maori descent, set up the Trust following the All Whites' 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign with three other New Zealand internationals of Maori descent - Leo Bertos, Jeremy Christie and Rory Fallon.

Thanks to one of the Phoenix' supporters, Banks Shoes, the children each left the Eastern Suburbs ground where the Phoenix trained with a new pair of football boots.

They were even able to enjoy a kick-around with New Zealand's only A-League team before being invited to join the players and staff for dinner at the Grand Rendezvous Hotel, where they were each presented with a Phoenix shirt, and then joined in with the players for one of the club's traditions.

The first time a player or member of staff travels away from Wellington with the team they are expected to stand on a chair and sing a song, which is a daunting experience for even the most confident person.

To a boy or girl they joined in the chanting for a reluctant singer and then, to cap the night off three of the budding football stars - Amelia Luselu, Taitimu-Lee Harrison and Roine Sinanoa - stood in front of players and staff and sang!

The Phoenix will face Reid and West Ham during the Hammers' Football United Tour to New Zealand, with the fixture taking place at Eden Park stadium in Auckland on Wednesday 23 July at 7.45pm.

West Ham will then travel to Wellington to face another A-League side, Sydney FC, on Saturday 26 July at 2pm as part of a double-header which also includes the Phoenix's meeting with Barclays Premier League club Newcastle United.

More than 20,000 tickets have been sold for the Wellington double-header, while seats are also selling quickly for the Eden Park fixture.

Ticket prices for the West Ham v Wellington fixture start from just 59 NZD (£30.20) for Adults and 20 NZD (£10.25) for Children.

Silver ticket prices for the Westpac Stadium double-header are priced at 95 NZD (£48) for Adults, 45 NZD (£22.80) for Children and 235 NZD (£119) for a Family (Two Adults/Two Children). Gold seats are available for 129 NZD (£65.30) for Adults, 59 NZD (£29.90) for Children and 319 NZD (£160.60) for a Family (Two Adults/Two Children).

Affiliated Supporters' Clubs from New Zealand and across Australia have already revealed plans to travel to both matches, while UK-based supporters are also set to make the 11,400-mile trip to cheer on their team.

Flight, ticket and accommodation packages for the Football United Tour are also on sale now, with prices starting from as little as NZ $216 (£110) per person. For full details, click here.


Football United Tour

Wellington Phoenix v West Ham United
Wednesday 23 July 2014, 7.30pm (local time)
Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand

Sydney FC v West Ham United
Saturday 26 July 2014, 2pm (local time)
Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand

Football United Tour