The year of 2019 was a great one for talented midfielder Dane Schnell. The Waitakere United player helped his team to finish at 3rd in the last season of the ISPS Handa Premiership – the best Waitakere campaign in years. The 21-year-old player also represented clubs in New Zealand such as Western Springs and Eastern Suburbs before joining Waitakare in 2019.
Schnell already played for New Zealand at the 2015 U17 World Cup and he saw his side being eliminated in the round of 16 against Brazil. He returned to the New Zealand youth squad in 2019 to play at the U-20 World Cup in Poland – Schnell and his team-mates were eliminated again in the round of 16 against Colombia, but New Zealand impressed in the tournament with a 5-0 win over Honduras and also beating Norway in the group stage.
In the same year, Schnell was called-up by Des Buckingham to play the OFC Olympic Qualifiers in Fiji and fight for a spot at Tokyo Olympics. New Zealand did not face any resistance in the group stage. They also beat easily the hosts by 6-1 in the semi-final and smashed the Solomon Islands in the decisive match by 5-0 to book a spot in the next Olympics. Schnell played a major role for New Zealand and was a regular starter in Buckingham’s squad.
For his club, Schnell’s season could not be better: The midfielder scored eleven goals for his side in the ISPS Handa Premiership season and also recorded two assists. Along with his team-mate Sam Burfoot, Schnell was the main man responsible for reviving former OFC Champions League champions Waitakere United after several seasons away from the limelight in New Zealand football.
The still 21-year-old player has proven his quality in 2019 and early 2020; Schnell has what it takes to advance to the next level. As a regular player for New Zealand’s youth teams, the player also impressed in the National League with his regularity, which made him one of the best players of the season.
New Zealand has a lot of talent at the moment; Sarpreet Singh and Liberato Cacace are certainly the best known of them, but Dane Schnell can also be part of a golden generation for New Zealand in the coming years.