The development of some of the most promising young female players in the country will be overseen by Gemma Lewis after her joint appointment as manager of the Future Ferns Domestic Programme (FFDP) and head coach of the U-20 women’s national team.Lewis was previously assistant manager of the FFDP initiative – as well as acting as assistant coach for both the U-17 and U-20 women’s national teams – and is delighted to be stepping up to the main role.“I’m extremely excited to be presented with this opportunity,” she says.“I’m very happy to continue working with the players we have coming through and will look to build on the good work that’s been done before me.”After a playing career that included international appearances for her native Wales and in the top-flight of the English women's game with Cardiff City, Lewis moved into coaching and began on the advanced pathway with New Zealand Football several years ago. She has gone on to earn both her OFC/NZF C-Licence and B-Licence and most recently completed her A-Licence.As well as being assistant coach during New Zealand’s ground-breaking run to a third-place finish at the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Lewis coached the Northern Lights to runners-up in last year’s National Women’s League and led Auckland Football to the title of the same competition a year earlier.
Gemma Lewis with Auckland captain Stephanie Skilton after winning the 2017 National Women's League Her talents have been recognised further afield with FIFA selecting Lewis to be part of an elite coach mentorship programme, in which she is being mentored by Japan women’s team head coach Asako Takemoto.Lewis also attended the recent FIFA Women's World Cup in France as a member of the Football Ferns' coaching staff. “Gemma is one of our brightest young coaches and we are therefore pleased to appoint her in a pair of important roles,” says Andy Boyens, New Zealand Football Interim Technical Director.“Having already been part of the FFDP and in the coaching set-up of our age-group national women’s teams, she is ideally suited to drive the programme forward and help our talented young female players fulfil their potential.”The FFDP was introduced by New Zealand Football to help domestic-based players progress to an international standard and is proving successful in that regard. Eight players have already graduated from the programme to sign professional contracts – namely Paige Satchell, CJ Bott, Meikayla Moore, Jana Radosavljevic, Aimee Phillips, Katie Rood, Emma Rolston and Victoria Esson.Lewis will be responsible for the ongoing running of the programme while building towards New Zealand’s bid to make an impact at the next edition of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2020.Article added: Tuesday 02 July 2019