A fresh batch of newly-upskilled coaches, including several former All Whites and a pair of current Stirling Sports Premiership players, will soon be able to pass on even more knowledge to the football community after taking the first steps towards earning their OFC/NZF B-Licence.
The first part of the two-part qualification was held recently at the home of the East Coast Bays club in Auckland and brought a wide range of participants together from across the country. There is no shortage of familiar names among the candidates with ex-internationals Fred de Jong, David Mulligan and David Rayner being joined by Canterbury United players Stephen Hoyle and Gary Ogilvie, along with 17 other budding coaches.
Most are from New Zealand but a couple travelled from much farther afield with one coming in from India and another from the United Kingdom.
De Jong, who played over 20 times for New Zealand in the 1980s and early 1990s, has relished the chance to take the next step on his coaching journey. The 52-year-old has so far coached mainly at junior and youth level and has already produced one star pupil in the form of son Andre, who played with Hoyle and Ogilvie for Canterbury in the Stirling Sports Premiership this season.
“I’ve been coaching for a number of years now and, as with most ex-players, it’s around your kids,” de Jong senior explains.
“Your kids start playing football and, at one point, I was coaching three junior teams all at once which was an interesting experience. But, as they grow older, the demands on the coach become more and more. That’s where these sorts of courses are fantastic because you get the knowledge of actual coaching rather than just resorting back to what you picked up as a player.”
The former striker has already learned much on the B-Licence and says the ability to define a match-related football problem and find ways to solve it is the most significant thing he’ll take away.
“It’s about taking what you see in a game, defining that into a problem and then structuring sessions around that to hopefully get a better result in the following weeks,” he says.
Canterbury United forward Hoyle has also found the experience invaluable so far.
“It really tidies up your coaching,” he says of the B-Licence content. “You don’t want to get confused with what you’re doing and you need to have clear points when you go out into a session. Often my football knowledge just comes out in bits and bobs so it’s good to really organise yourself and get more across to the players without wasting too many words.”
The Englishman believes it’s vital for any ambitious coach in this country to become part of the New Zealand Football Coach Development Pathway, which provides different routes for both the community and advanced strands of the game.
“These qualifications are becoming recognised worldwide now, I’m from England and with the growing recognition this course is a really strong place to be. Going forward, the more qualifications you get under your belt and the more learning you do are both going to be very important for your future,” he says.
Gemma Lewis, one of two females in the current B-Licence crop with Capital Football Women’s Development Officer Emma Evans, agrees with Hoyle.
“It’s really important to continue learning,” says Lewis, who works as a Football Development Officer for Auckland Football. “The game is constantly changing so, when you come into these environments and are brought up to speed on current learnings and trends, the sort of knowledge you take away is invaluable.”
New Zealand Football Coach Development Manager Steven Dillon says the B-Licence is one of the most important steps towards become a highly-qualified coach.
“It’s the second step on the advanced pathway and the pre-requisite for the OFC/NZF A-Licence which, at this stage, is the top of the tree for coaches in this country,” he says.
“I think it’s consistent across the globe that coach education is a significant pillar of any football development programme. The impact coaches can have, not only on the players but also on the administrators, referees and clubs is hugely significant.”
The complete list of OFC/NZF B-Licence coaching candidates is as follows:
Samuel Sylvester, Benjamin Bate, David Carswell, Paul Harkness, Nic Millichip, Symon King, Ekow Quainoo, Andrew Pitman, Richard Bell, Fred de Jong, Shane Verma, David Murdoch, Emma Evans, Paul Seaman, David Rayner, Pablo Pinto-Nunez, Gary Ogilvie, Stephen Hoyle, David Mulligan, Zoran Ivanovic, Gemma Lewis, Ricardo Felitti
Coach Developers: Owain Prosser, Steven Dillon, Korouch Monsef, Andy Boyens