Auckland Football (AFF) confirmed on Tuesday the appointment of Dave Edmondson as Head Coach of the federation’s National Women’s League side for the coming 2017 season.
Qualified to UEFA A Level, Edmondson returns to New Zealand for the role having coached Melbourne Victory to the 2014 Australian W-League title before guiding Bristol Academy to victory over Barcelona in the knockout stages of the UEFA Women’s Champions League the following northern hemisphere season.
Edmondson also has previous experience in this country as coach of the 2010 U-17 New Zealand Women’s side as well as in the National Women’s League with Waikato Bay of Plenty (finalists in 2010) while also guiding Claudelands Rovers to the New Zealand Women’s Knockout Cup title in 2010.
AFF’s Head of Women’s Football Steven Upfold said Edmondson’s appointment is a coup for the federation and the league itself.
“In securing someone of Dave’s experience I think we are sending a very strong message to our players and the wider community about how highly we value our National Women’s League side and its place in our pathway,” Upfold said.
“We have developed an underpinning purpose and philosophy behind our team and during the recruitment process Dave’s own philosophy, coaching approach and playing model stood out as the closest match to that among the candidates for the position.
“When you couple that with the experience Dave has accumulated, working with some of the world’s top internationals in both Australia and the UK, we’re tremendously excited about the opportunity our own players will have during their time together this year.”
Edmondson says he will be calling on that experience with the likes of international stars such as Steph Catley and Jess Fishlock as he aims to put together a side capable of challenging for the title while giving the squad an insight into the standards on and off the pitch at the professional level.
“I want to instill an exciting and enjoyable style of football that is successful on the national stage. Auckland has previously been a powerhouse of women’s football and I want to bring that back to the region,” Edmondson said.
“I also want to provide the players with an understanding and awareness of what it takes to play in a professional environment both tactically and physically on the pitch but also socially and psychologically away from the pitch. A winning mentality and a real desire to be the very best player that they can be are as vital as technical abilities.”
Edmondson says the focus turns now to assembling a squad from across the region and putting in place the details of the campaign.
“We’ll get to watch as many games as possible, liaise with coaches to select a wider group of players to trial for the final squad. We’ll also plan a top-quality programme for the season which we will share with clubs, coaches and players so everyone is fully informed and aware of how we intend to help in developing future Football Ferns and future professionals.”
Upfold says the coming season will be an important one for the federation on and off the field after the completion of New Zealand Football’s competition review.
“We have some clarity around the league for the next several years and that gives us a secure platform on which to build a strong product which we can use to help New Zealand Football begin to bridge the gap between our club level and the international arena.”
“We see our side as the cap to our pathway which flows through our clubs and our FTC programme. Our focus will be on providing opportunities at National Women’s League level for players involved in clubs in our federation as well as those players who have spent multiple years in our FTC programme.”
Edmondson will be assisted by NZ U-20 assistant coach Gemma Lewis while a Goalkeeper Coach will be added to the staff in the coming weeks.
The team will play its 2017 National Women’s League matches at Three Kings United’s Keith Hay Park No. 1 with full details on selection process and programme timings to follow shortly.