The Long Road to Success

Altan Ramadan Toffa Leave a Comment

Brazil’s Neymar, right, vies for the ball with New Zealand’s Tim Payne

All White midfielder Tim Payne (21) has become used to responding to adversity.

“Professional football is such a cut-throat environment.”

Tim was the standout player for national secondary school champions Sacred Heart College and the New Zealand team that made the second round of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2011.

In 2012 he signed a professional contract with then English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers and spent the next three seasons trying to crack the first team.

“In New Zealand there are just a small number of players fighting for a spot at clubs but over there it is more like 100,000.  The kids are just as good as you and will do anything to succeed.”

Hard work, dedication and resilience have become the cornerstone of Tim’s career.

Returning to New Zealand, he starred for Auckland City Football Club at the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup.

Tim’s tournament highlight was a man of the match performance in the 3rd place playoff as Mexican champions Cruz Azul was defeated on penalties.

Now leading the midfield for Portland Timbers 2 in the United Soccer League (USL) Tim is aiming to break into the MLS, the top league in the United States.

Lessons learnt in the United Kingdom have prepared Tim well for Portland but he also recognises the value of getting good habits in place when he was playing junior football in Auckland.

“The most important thing that I learnt as a young player was to prepare and always give my best, even when conditions were tough or when I wasn’t feeling on top of my game.

I just wanted to play, that’s what I loved to do.  It made me want to play more.

My parents gave me general guidance but the football side of things was taken care of by my coaches, especially Danny Hay and Chris Turner.  My Dad kept on reminding me to enjoy my football and not get frustrated.  He still tells me that now.”

You can follow Tim’s football career at

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