Zane Sole and Erik Panzer: New Zealand duo chasing English football dream in Truro

Zane Sole
Zane Sole moved to Truro City at the start of November

The dream of playing football in England is one for which players from around the world are prepared to make sacrifices.

For two New Zealanders, that has involved travelling almost 12,000 miles (about 19,000 km) to live in a caravan and play in England's sixth tier.

Zane Sole and Erik Panzer are plying their trade with Truro City in National League South.

The club is one of the most far-flung in England, so perhaps well suited to players from a country so far away.

"Me and Erik have settled in really well," says Sole, whose last club was Apia Leichhardt Tigers in Australia's semi-professional New South Wales National Premier League.

"Both our mindsets, living in the caravan, doing our extra training, has really worked well together."

Truro City fans
Truro's fans have tried to make their New Zealand contingent as welcome as possible by taking the country's flag to each game

So how does Truro City have a link with New Zealand? The answer is Rory Fallon.

The New Zealand international is now player-assistant manager at the Cornish club, having previously had spells with for Plymouth Argyle, Barnsley, Swindon Town, Swansea and Aberdeen.

"I've known Rory for quite a while, his dad used to coach me back in my schooldays," says 24-year-old Sole, who has won caps at Under-17 and Under-20 level for New Zealand.

"I came over here when I was 17 and had trials at Plymouth and Swansea. He told me to train every single day and in five years you'll be back here, and sure enough I'm back here," he told BBC Radio Cornwall.

Truro's fans help provide the players with training kit and find part-time jobs that fit in around their football.

Sole says it allows Panzer and himself to concentrate on performances on the field - which have improved with a season-best run of three successive wins.

"We're only halfway through the season, so there are plenty of points to pick up," added Sole, who scored his first goal for City in their 1-0 win at Hemel Hempstead Town on Saturday.

"If we can have this momentum that we've all built up collectively together, we can really push for that top-five position and make the play-offs."

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