Over 200 talented footballers descended on Crossfields Reserve over the weekend for camp one of the 2017 Auckland Football Federation Talent Centre programme.
Led by former All Whites goalkeeper and Auckland Football’s Football Development Manager Jason Batty, approximately 210 boys and girls across five different age groups were selected to take part.
“Similar to last year, we will be holding three, three-day school holiday camps,” says Batty.
“We collect information on players from a lot of the Directors of Football’s, or appropriate contacts, at clubs then go out and physically watch a lot of games to assess the talent we have at our disposal.
“We then selected a pool of players that allowed us to have a good size training group across all age groups to cater for the quality in our region.”
The budding youngsters didn’t have to look far for role models across the three-day camp with the players being put through their paces by a handful of experts in the game, including three Auckland City players.
“We were fortunate to have Clayton Lewis, Albert Riera and Mario Bilen come out to assist the coaches and players.
“It’s always nice to have current role models to work alongside our up and coming talent.”
There was also a good calibre of coaches across all the age groups, with various Auckland Football clubs being represented.
“We were very pleased with our coaching staff for the first camp,” says Batty.
“We are trying to engage different coaches from different clubs with every camp, so coaches from camp to camp will change.
“This weekend just gone we had a group of coaches in Shane Knowles (Bay Olympic), Hoani Edwards (Eastern Suburbs), Ryan Shiffman and Nicola Demaine (both Ellerslie) on board.”
Also on hand for the first camp of the year were various New Zealand Football staff and players which added an extra element to the weekend.
“New Zealand U-20 Head Coach and New Zealand Football’s Athlete Development Manager Gareth Turnbull ran a session for our older girls on Friday as well as holding an educational component beforehand.
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“Football Ferns Sports Scientist Harriet Steele has come on board to coach our U-14 Girls group and Ferns defender Meikayla Moore came along on Saturday to lend a few tips on defending, while New Zealand U-17 Men’s coach Chris Zorocich was in attendance to watch some of the quality amongst our older boys’ groups.”
The camp ran from Friday 21 April – Sunday 23 April with each group having four two hour football training sessions. Camp two of the Federation Talent Centre is set to take place in the July school holidays.
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