Shane Verma joined New Zealand Football (NZF) as their Community Pathway Manager in July this year. Since his appointment, he has been navigating his way through the country’s grassroots and youth spaces. Get to know more about him and his plans below.  

OFC: Tell us a little bit about yourself? 

SV: Growing up I was surrounded by football, whether it was playing at Halswell United Football Club or watching my dad play and referee football matches in Christchurch. 

I decided to try coaching when I was at high school and ended up enjoying coaching more than playing, so I decided to focus more on coaching youth.  

I never considered that working full-time in football was a possibility. I was actually studying a postgraduate degree in chemistry when I was offered a full-time role with Waimakariri United Football Club. 

It was then through coaching in the National Women’s League I moved to Auckland for work experience with the Northern Football Federation, which led to a full-time role at NZF. 

What inspired you to apply for the role at NZF? 

I was really excited to apply when the role was available and I am proud to be able to continue the great work Owain Prosser, Josh Margetts and Jamie Milne have done for community football in New Zealand.  

Being a part of a great development team at NZF and working with people passionate about their own areas (football, futsal, refereeing and coaching development) energises me daily. It is a privilege to wake up every morning to be an NZF staff member.  

What are some of the key things you want to achieve in your role? 

New Zealand is very fortunate to have great people working in our federations. Understanding and supporting the federations to provide football for their own communities is a key priority area for me.  

We are currently reviewing our game day playing formats, which are currently delivered by clubs and federations as outlined in the NZF Whole of Football Plan. The purpose of the plan is to understand what we deliver and what the best format of football is for their enjoyment and development. 

I’m a big advocate of thinking outside the box for ways to provide positive experiences for our members. 

A big focus will be to ensure that our players, coaches, supporters and administrators continue to enjoy football through positive messaging, education and support for all involved in our game.  

Supporting programmes that support diversity and inclusion is also key for me to help make football accessible for all.