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From football goalkeeper to All Blacks forward.

In 2011 Shannon Frizell got selected in to the Tonga National U 17 team to represent Tonga to the OFC U 17 qualifying championship in New Zealand as the Tongan goalkeeper but now Frizell has been selected to play forward for the New Zealand All Blacks.

Frizell and his family migrated to New Zealand and he switched to play rugby for two other huge rugby clubs before he selected to All Blacks.  But for Frizell he never forgot his gateway to rugby was soccer.

Frizell says, ‘’Without the soccer skills I learnt in Tonga I would not succeed in rugby.  During my days in soccer, I enjoyed playing the game especially with children that we grew up in our village, playing with friends, school mates and learning new skills.   I remembered I always prepared myself to do my best on and off the field, and It a must that I had to strive to success and to make my family proud.’’

Frizell is now reside in New Zealand but he wished to support his fellow friends and football players here in Tonga, to keep on doing and striving even though the road is long and rough, commit to what you do and work hard so in the future the hard work will pay off, and to stay humble also trust the Lord and make him known.

The Tonga U 17 squad head coach, Chris William was so excited and feel proud when he realized that All Blacks selected Frizell to play for New Zealand.

‘’My first reaction when I heard Shannon was selected as an All Black was of pride and happiness for him. He was a very humble and hardworking kid when I first met and coached him in Tonga and he was a very talented goalkeeper and worked very hard in every game, the switch to rugby has clearly paid off for him. I couldn’t be happier for him that he has been selected and now made his debut for the All Blacks,’’ William says.

‘’When I first met Shannon you could see he was a natural athlete.  He was also a very humble, hardworking and dedicated kid and I’m sure those qualities which he showed as a young man have helped to get him to where he is today. I remembered that the 2011 U17 Oceania tournament which we played in was a difficult one for him, as we had many tough matches with a very young squad (our youngest player was only 13!) however, Shannon being one of the oldest in the squad was also a true leader for the rest of the boys’’, he added.

‘’Again, I couldn’t be happier and prouder of Shannon and I think everyone at Tonga Football Association, and in Tonga, should be proud of Shannon’s journey to becoming an All Black and, being an Australian, I can’t wait to see him play against the Wallabies this winter,’’ William added.

Tonga Football wishes to extend our best wishes to Frizell for his international rugby debut for the All Blacks.

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