Belgium’s national women’s coach Anne Noë and former USA national coach April Heinrichs are leading the FIFA/OFC follow-up technical course for women’s football from 5-10 October at Kristin College on Auckland’s North Shore.
With participants from the member associations of Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), the course aims to build on the success of the FIFA/OFC women’s football coaching course held in Auckland last October as part of the ‘legacy’ activities surrounding the inaugural FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup New Zealand 2008.
A minute silence was held during the opening on Monday as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives in last week’s tsunami tragedy in American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga. FIFA Development Officer for Oceania Glenn Turner then addressed the audience followed by Kristin College Executive Principal Peter Clague and New Zealand Football CEO Michael Glading before OFC Deputy General Secretary Greg Larsen officially opened proceedings.
FIFA Instructor Anne Noë, who has returned to New Zealand after leading the initial course, says she is looking forward to seeing how the coaches have developed over the past 12 months.
“Last year we had the opportunity to watch and analyse some of the World Cup matches in New Zealand and we asked the participants to take what they had learned into their own environments,” says the former goalkeeper who gained 60 caps for Belgium.
“Now this week’s course will be more advanced and the participants will be challenged to go deeper in their way of thinking about the game.”
Assisting Noë is American April Heinrichs who has experience as a national team player, captain, coach and technical director. She was the first female player to be inducted into the USA National Soccer Hall of Fame. Her glittering career included 47 national caps, a FIFA Women’s World Cup title in 1991 (as captain) and a Gold medal at the 2004 Olympics (as coach).
Heinrichs says the course is about raising the level of professionalism within each member association.
“These coaches already have the passion to develop the women’s game, now it’s about equipping them with the tools they need to improve the overall standards.”
Heinrichs says the course is based around seminars, videos, demonstrations and practical sessions but what happens outside of that structure in terms of social interaction and networking is just as important.
Diane Justus, who works as the women’s development officer for Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF), says they are encouraged to share strategies with other participants.
“Last year was my first FIFA coaching course and I learned a lot from the instructors as well as the other coaches.”
Justus, who currently holds a senior coaching licence, says she is delighted to be back in New Zealand participating in her second FIFA course.
“My goal is to help develop women’s football across the Solomon Islands including the provinces and rural areas. I also hope to achieve the highest level coaching licence.”