Coaching award reflects junior growth

Junior coaches are a key path of the New Zealand Football Coaching Pathway. Photo: Shane Wenzlick /

The growth of the junior game in New Zealand is continuing at a rapid rate with playing numbers on the rise and a historic advanced coaching course proving so popular that another has been swiftly scheduled to meet the demand.

The Junior Level 3 Coaching Award is the first of its kind on offer and the initial opportunity to obtain it will take place at Auckland’s Takapuna AFC from September 7 to 11.

Those not quick enough to sign up for the inaugural course will have to wait a couple of weeks longer and New Zealand Football Coach Development Manager Steven Dillon is delighted to have seen such an enthusiastic response.

“Our first ever advanced award for coaches of junior players has proven to be massively popular and the inaugural course has filled up in double-quick time with coaches located all over the North Island,” he says.

Any coach who missed out need not fret though as another Junior Level 3 course has been scheduled in Auckland later the same month to meet the demand, East Coast Bays FC playing host from September 28. And junior coaches in the south will get their turn from November 9 to 13 at the home of the Mainland Football Federation in Christchurch.

The junior coaching pathway previously extended only to Level 2 with graduates then moving on to the youth and senior frameworks if they wished to extend their footballing education.

Dillon says the introduction of a Junior Level 3 is a reflection of the huge importance of the early stages of a player’s development.

“Creating strong football knowledge and expertise in the junior coaching space is a massive priority for our game,” he says.

“A specialist workforce who have a true understanding of coaching junior players will, in turn, ensure we help foster a positive learning experience for junior footballers, retain them in the game and help develop them through into the NZF Youth Framework.”

The course content will be delivered by New Zealand Football Junior Development Manager Owain Prosser and is directly linked to the Skills Centre curriculum – a development programme for the most talented nine to 12-year-olds – and will further reinforce the national body’s wider vision and philosophy on coaching.

“The variety of topics will equip coaches with new knowledge around best practice of junior football development and we are delighted to be able to offer this course as part of the NZF Advanced Coaching Pathway,” Dillon says.

There will be an ever-growing need for junior coaches of high quality across the country as the popularity of junior football shows no signs of abating.

The total number of players registered at one of the 347 clubs offering junior football now stands at nearly 53,000 – more than enough to fill the cavernous Eden Park, New Zealand’s largest stadium – and there are almost 6,000 junior coaches and volunteers involved in the game.

According to Sport NZ research, 71 per cent of all boys in the country participated in football in some form last year while the figure was 52 per cent for girls.

Through NZ Football’s partnership with McDonald’s, 138,540 player of the day certificates were presented to junior players last year.

“Junior football is hugely important to the development of the game and it is vital that our coaching pathway reflects that by providing courses of an appropriate frequency and level,” Dillon says.

Please see below for details of the upcoming Junior Level 3 coaching courses.

NZF Junior Level 3 Coaching Award

Takapuna AFC, Takapuna, Auckland
7-11 September
Registrations: FULL

East Coast Bays FC, Oteha, Auckland
28 September – 2 October
Cost: $525+GST
Registrations: Click Here

Mainland Football Federation, Christchurch
9-13 November
Cost: $525+GST
Registrations: Click Here

For more information please contact Steven Dillon at

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