Photo Credit: NZ Football

Goalkeeping coaches from around Aotearoa have taken a significant step in their development by completing part 1 of the inaugural OFC/NZF GK B-Licence.

In collaboration with New Zealand Football (NZF), OFC is dedicated to improving the standard of goalkeeping coaching at all levels of the game, from national teams to grassroots clubs.

A cohort of 12 coaches from diverse environments assembled at QBE Stadium in Auckland for the five-day course. The programme featured a blend of practical work on the pitch, bringing to life the learning undertaken off it.

Chris Marsh, OFC Education Consultant and lead developer of the course, hailed the completion of the first-half of the course, as a milestone moment for advanced goalkeeper coach education in Oceania.

“Delivery of part 1 of the inaugural OFC/NZF GK B-Licence is a vital step forward to develop our goalkeeper coaches and through this, our people. Coach education is a key factor in developing goalkeeping and football in Oceania. Having more capable and qualified goalkeeper coaches in our region will have a flow on effect into the development and performance of our goalkeepers,” Marsh explained.

During the course, coaches had the privilege of benefiting from the expert knowledge and experience of Head of Goalkeeping at Football Australia and Matildas’ goalkeeping coach, Tony Franken, who was a guest coach developer over the five days. As well as New Zealand Football’s Head of Coach Education and former Football Ferns assistant coach Aaron McFarland.

“McFarland brought huge value to the coaches and the course in general. His attendance was clear evidence of his care for goalkeeping development in New Zealand and Oceania,” explained OFC Goalkeeping Development Officer James Bannatyne.

Former New Zealand U-20 goalkeeper, Tessa Nicol, led the way for other women in Oceania as the only female on the course.

“I was very excited to have the opportunity to attend the first Goalkeeping B Licence, and I was lucky enough to do it with an unbelievably knowledgeable group of people who I learned a lot from. Tony [Franken] was incredible, he was an asset to have on the course, and a huge win for me to connect with a top coach who has so much experience in the women’s space,” said Nicol.

As the only woman on the course, Nicol was keen to see others take advantage of the dedicated education pathway.

“My hope is to see more women over the next few years come through the advanced goalkeeping development pathway and filtering into our academies, professional clubs, and national pathways,” she explained.

“Now is a great time to get more women into goalkeeper coaching. There are loads of clubs crying out for goalkeeper coaches, and with a clear pathway in place now, we need to be encouraging women who are transitioning out of playing or want to give back to the community, the opportunity to coach keepers.”

The course also benefited from the contributions of NZF sports psychologist Dom Vettise, whose in depth understanding of psychology and human behaviour has proven invaluable in the OFC goalkeeping coaching pathway over the years.

The ultimate aim of this course is to enhance participants’ coaching practices to a higher standard by building on their existing knowledge, fostering reflective and adaptive coaching approaches, and promoting a comprehensive understanding of goalkeeper development.

“We have a strong cohort of coaches coming through. Ideally they’ll gain their Goalkeeping B-Licence and be further equipped and inspired on their coaching journey,” said Marsh.

Educators will continue to support the participants through Distance Learning Tasks leading up to part 2 of the course, scheduled for October.