Mixing a full-time football career with a part-time university degree is what makes Sam Sutton tick.
The well-spoken 19-year-old is adapting to his online studies in psychology through Massey University (New Zealand), and whipping in crosses as a left-back for the Wellington Phoenix.
Luckily, The Frat is providing quality food for the talented footballer and uni student.“It’s been crazy over the past year, from being part of the Phoenix’s Academy to moving to Wollongong during Covid and now enjoying some first-team experience,” Sam said.
“I haven’t seen my parents (Linzie and Stephen) and sister (Monica) since last November. It’s my parents who keep reminding me that I’m living the dream. The Fraternity Club has been helpful too. The food is fantastic.”
Sam said his journey through the Academy and into the senior squad had been a rewarding experience, considering he has always been a big Phoenix fan.
“I came to the club as an attacking midfielder, but Uffy (coach Ufuk Talay) says I’m more suited to the left-back position,” he said.
“It was good to get an assist for Waino (Ben Waine) the other week. He’s also my roommate in Wollongong.”
Sam said he has enjoyed his time in the Gong, where the team is based at facilities at the University of Wollongong.
They will return to Wellington for their first game in New Zealand in 433 days, scheduled for May 22.
“It’s nice here. The beaches are awesome and the people are welcoming,” he said.
“I have a grandmother who spent a year living in Wollongong many years ago.”
As for the rest of the season and beyond, the youngster has mapped out his plans. "My goal is to keep developing. I’m fully focused on the Phoenix,” he said.
“Hopefully one day I can also follow in the footsteps of other Academy (Wellington) players such as Sarpreet Singh (Bayern Munich).
“For now I’m enjoying being with the senior squad; and let’s not forget how great The Frat food is too!”
Written by Nathan Simpson