Former Football Ferns assistant coach Danny Robinson has returned to New Zealand to complete the OFC/NZF A Licence coaching course this week.
The Burton Albion Academy Manager has had his first taste of coaching in the professional football environment in the United Kingdom over the past two months, but is enjoying the opportunity to be back in New Zealand weather and learning alongside his former football colleagues.
“It’s great to be back. It’s a bit surreal coming back into it, having been here for 12 years and then having two months of professional football experience in the UK. It is a bit strange but I’m really enjoying it,” he said.
“For me as a coach you’re always learning and yes you get the qualification coming on the A Licence but it’s the opportunities to be better and working with people like Rob Sherman that is great.
“Any time or opportunity to work and listen and speak with some of the great people that we’ve got working here.”
The transition from national representative football to professional football has proven a challenge over the past two months, but Robinson is embracing the different football culture and enjoying the fast-paced environment.
“When I was working with the national women’s team it was on cycles in relation to FIFA windows, Olympics and World Cups, so there were periods where you would be able to just focus on your coaching, focus on your individual players and getting them better. In England, everything is happening so fast and there’s a lot of day-to-day football that keeps you very busy,” he said.
“My role there as an academy manager has got a number of aspects to it other than just football. I have to manage the day-to-day management of people, the staff as well as the players, and then the programme from U-9s to U-23s.
“Managing that side of it opposed to just coaching has been a challenge. I’m only two months in so I’m kind of still finding my feet with everything but it’s what I’m really enjoying.
“Then there’s the football side of it, to work at a professional club at Championship level, it’s fantastic.”
Finding enjoyment in learning in such a dynamic environment came easier to Robinson after taking knowledge from part one of the A Licence on board as he moved into his new role.
“Working with teams and especially working with good players who have tactical knowledge, in your understanding of the game and how to coach and how to manage on a match day, all those components that you get on the A Licence are vital for working in the professional game,” he said.
“What I took from part one, putting my philosophy together, going through a rigorous process of planning before trainings and matches and then reviewing and reflecting on myself, all of that and the course work we’ve done over the last year away from the actual course has been really, really helpful.”
Robinson will return to Staffordshire, England, to continue his role at Burton Albion after the OFC/NZF A Licence coaching course wraps up on 4 December.