Arzan Todywalla overcomes odds to pursue a dream
This story was updated at 1530 hours
Auckland, August 15, 2020
When 19-year-old Arzan Todywalla left for the United States of America on Tuesday (August 11, 2020) night, the scene at the Auckland International Airport was one of pride and a host of other emotions.
For his parents Pearl and Viraf Todywalla, it was the result of years of sacrifice, anxiety, hard work, financial hardship and determination that their son should succeed.
For his elder sister Afrin, it was a source of endearment and satisfaction that her brother was on his way to the land of opportunities, progress and success.
For his friends, it perhaps opened up their own avenues for pursuit.
For Arzan himself, America was beckoning with the promise of an illustrious career- within the portals of an educational institution and vast fields to practice and perfect his proficiency in Soccer.
He will be engaged in academic advancement at St Mary’s College of California and seek higher skills in the game under the guidance of Thomas Spragg, Director, Striv3 Elite Sports Management and former Coach.
We have known the Todywalla family almost from the day of their arrival in New Zealand and hence Arzan’s move to USA marked the inauguration of a resplendent chapter in the young man’s life, educational pursuit and career in Soccer.
We look forward to carrying reports of Arzan’s progress as a Soccer player and his accomplishments at University, Inter-University, Regional, National and International Tournaments in the years to come.
Not only this young man but his parents also deserve his success.
Arzan was less than 18 months old when he migrated with his parents and sister to New Zealand.
None of them was aware that there was soccer star in the making, until his third birthday, when Viraf noticed Arzan kick a ball that went “at the speed of a rocket.”
Parental interest grew and recognising the immense potential of the lad, Pearl secured Arzan’s admission to the Fencibles United AFC Soccer Club in Pakuranga, East Auckland, when he was six years old.
“Over the next few years, our son would be ready for competitions,” they thought.
They were wrong.
In less than a year, Arzan won his first Trophy and several other awards and citations including the ‘Player of the Year,’ ‘The Most Improved Player,’ ‘The Most Valuable Player of the Year (2007) Award’ and ‘Golden Boot’ for scoring the highest number of goals.
Certificates, Medals, Trophies and Prizes became a routine. He appeared in matches, winning most of them, bringing name and fame to the sides for which he played.
“Soccer is his passion and he loves playing the game and participating in matches. He trained all days of the week and faced the challenges of balancing sports and academic studies,” Viraf said.
Coach Justin Green and Director Roger Wilkinson at Fencibles recognised his raw skills and invested their time and expertise to hone them and create an invincible player.
“I would have never achieved anything without the coaching of Mr Green. I attribute all my success to my parents, especially my mother who has not only encouraged me since my childhood but also given her time and effort day after day, sacrificing her weekends, holidays and spare time.”
Arzan was invited twice to the United Kingdom for trials and training programmes at Birmingham City FC, while playing for Fencibles AFC on the recommendation of Wilkinson. During his second visit in 2018, he attended the Elite Training Programme at Football Fusion organised by Founder-Director Paul Seaman.
He was invited by Paul Temple, Academy Director of Wellington Phoenix, for their trials, which Arzan was unable to accept since he Fencibles AFC would not release him.
In January 2019, Arzan attended the UK Trials, Australia held in Melbourne, which were managed and operated by UEFA A Licensed coaches and scouts.
Arzan was a top scorer at the UK Football Trials amongst hundreds of aspiring soccer players and Director Harry Price considered Arzan as one of the most promising players of Soccer.
He suggested that Arzan should join top UK schools and play soccer at high levels.
“It was a significant and tempting offer but we could not afford to spend $70,000 per year for four years. There was no scholarship offer. Arzan comes from a struggling middle class family. We had to therefore regretfully forgo that opportunity,” Viraf said.
Challenges and disappointments
Paucity of finance was not the only disappointment that Arzan and his parents had to endure.
It is not uncommon for young players like him to face bias, jealously, discrimination and unjust treatment. Despite being the winner in the U17 Youth Tournament, Arzan’s lost the opportunity of playing for First XI Soccer Team for his School, and from being enlisted in the New Zealand Under 17 Team held in Mumbai.
However, the fighting spirit, combined with his exceptional Soccer skills enabled Arzan to wear the Futsal Whites Men’s Jersey and win the Silver Cup for New Zealand at the Oceania Futsal under the guidance of Marvin Eakins and Bakr Al-Saudi.
Last year, he won the Golden Boot from Auckland Secondary School Football Association for scoring staggering 15 goals. His superb play was primarily responsible for his St Kentigern College First XI Team winning the 2019 Auckland Premiership Title.
Among the other Coaches and experts who promoted his interests were Danny Hay, All Whites Head Coach and Hoani Edwards.
Arzan is a star in the making.
He belongs not just to New Zealand, India or for that matter, his family.
He belong to the world.
The world of Soccer.