The introduction of three Perry Foundation National Talent Centres centralised in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch is part of New Zealand Football’s plan to speed the rate of player development and progress on the world stage.
In the last two years, the collective progress of New Zealand teams has been rapid, with 13 points collected from six age group and senior FIFA events in 2008 and 2009 after picking up just one point in the four tournaments immediately following Australia’s departure from Oceania for the Asian Football Confederation.
But despite breakthrough performances like wins at 2008 U-17 and U-20 Women’s World Cups, draws at Olympic games, a second round appearance at the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the All Whites dramatic qualification to the finals of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, NZF is aiming to spin the wheels of progress even faster.
National Talent Centres are the first step in that process, identifying and nurturing talented young players from as early as 12 years old in preparation for age-group FIFA World Cups at U-17 and U-20 level.
A network of NZF scouts have combined with federation scouts to uncover the brightest prospects, taking into account the stage of a child’s physical development so that late bloomers aren’t overlooked.
Centralised in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch the Upper North, Lower North and South Island centres will be the first step in the roll-out of a national talent identification and development program, nationally aligned, regionally tuned and fully integrated into New Zealand’s preparation for FIFA age-group World Cups on a two year cycle.
In practical terms the National Talent Centres will track, monitor and inspire a group of players, helping them on their journey towards playing in a FIFA U-17 World Cup and onto other pathways after those events.
With a small population, and thus a comparatively small talent pool, a key for the success of the New Zealand model will be keeping the identification spotlights shining longer, picking up more possible stars rather than showing them the exit door too early.
The inclusive approach will be coupled with intensive and high-quality instruction from national coaches, who in turn can shape their thinking further out from major events.
Participants, identified at national tournaments or in local competitions and regional federation programmes, will gain an exclusive insight into the level of preparation required to represent New Zealand and reach U-17 squads.
They will also gain exposure to a level of tactical and technical instruction, all with an international focus, to ensure that the right players are ready to meet world standards when they step out at FIFA events.
The philosophy is not so much “more milk means more cream” but “more quality milk makes more quality cream.”
And more quality cream means more moments for Kiwis to be proud of on the world stage.
New Zealand Football will work in collaboration with its seven member federations to identify and select talented players for the programme. This identification and selection will occur annually with federations completing a summative assessment on a player’s annual progress, which will ultimately form the basis for selection and the decisions to recruit, retain or release players to and from the NTC.
As part of the initial pilot, the NTCs in 2010 were held in January new dates for 2011 and beyond will be released following a comprehensive review.
Players who miss out on selection to the NTCs or those who are released from the NTC in year one will be monitored through continually attending the federation programmes.
Those selected for the NTC will be aligned to development groups which are double-age banded, in line with FIFA’s biennial U-17 World Cup cycles.
For more information on National Talent Centres and New Zealand’s talent development programme please download the National Talent Centres brochure [Oct 2010, 3MB].
Why are NTC’s in combined age groups?
A. These age groups are aligned to World Cup cycles. Players will be working together towards these dates regardless of their age.
Once players are chosen for an NTC are they in for life?
A. No. Players will be formally assessed during the National Talent Centre and feedback will be provided in a written format immediately after this event. The assessment covers a wide range of football specific criteria and a minimum standard will need to be reached by players for reselection. Ongoing assessment and monitoring will be carried out at federation level to ensure players who may have missed out on the first intake are provided with opportunities to achieve selection and players originally selected continue to meet the assessment standards.
What is there for other players?
A. It is the intention of New Zealand Football to create a regional talent centre programme in each federation which will act as a development platform for talented players both in the NTCs and those striving to achieve selection into the NTCs. The regional talent centre will provide a holistic curriculum focus designed to generate the technical and tactical competencies to support players on their journey towards an elite pathway.
Who will be the coaches?
A. Coaches are selected to work in the NTCs based on achieving a set criteria linked to their previous experience ie. Ex-international players, ex professional players and qualifications, or coaches with high level experience working in elite youth development environments.
What is the pathway from National Talent Centres into World Cup squads?
A. Approximately twelve months prior to a FIFA U-17 men’s or women’s World Cup, an enlarged squad of 30 (or more) players will be selected to participate in a more intensive phase of development. From this group, a final squad of 21 players plus non-travelling reserves will be selected to represent New Zealand. The NTCs provide players with the best opportunity to achieve national selection and the data collated during player’s involvement will provide coaches with a valuable tool to assist with selection.
Can parents spectate throughout the week?
A. No, however parents are invited to attend the initial introductory meetings and to observe the final morning’s training sessions and games.
If you have been accepted please find below a stanard medical form that will need to be completed