Soccer has better coach, better players

STANDARDS will continue to rise on the Border with the first senior certificate course in Albury being completed by 22 coaches in the past week.

Almost every club participated, including Albury United’s goalkeeper Marty Chambers, Matt Campbell and former senior coach Scott Kidd.

Four women were also among the participants.

Instructor Stephen Hayes said the Albury Wodonga Football Association had long had compulsory accreditation for coaches.

“Fifteen-odd years ago we identified the only way to improve the quality of the players was to improve the quality of the coaching,” he said.

“It’s a matter of coach education — the more they can be educated the better the players are going to be.

“We were the leading association in NSW for making it compulsory for accredited coaches.

“We believe that’s contributed significantly to the standard in the local area and our ability to produce quality players and put them into national teams.”

And there’s been no shortage of those so far, with Josh Kennedy, Archie Thompson and Amy and Georgia Chapman all playing for Australia.

Zac Mackenzie was the youngest player to win the AWFA best and fairest and has gone on to play with South Coast Wolves while Zac Walker was on the books of Melbourne Heart.

“We have got runs on the board and per head of population, I think we do punch well above our weight,” Hayes said.

The whole senior course is based on the FFA’s national curriculum and how to instruct players based on a 4-3-3 formation.

But Hayes said he didn’t want it to end there.

“We’d like to take it to the next level and hold a Regional C Licence which is a rare commodity, only because it’s such a long commitment,” he said.

“That’s the start of the elite pathway in terms of coaching knowledge.”

It all points to a brighter future of the sport on the Border and more names like Thompson, Kennedy and Chapman.

Especially, Hayes said, if youngsters can be encouraged to keep playing in the region.

“We’ve proven as soon as you can identify a kid is above his standard he needs to be promoted to the next level,” he said.

“And that helps them prepare quicker for an assault for a position somewhere in an A-League or Premier League club.”

Albury City coach Simon Randall and Riverina coaching and development manager Blaise Fagan were other instructors on the course.