Words: ACFC Media
Tuesday 15 February 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC and Metro FC have intensified their specialised partnership for player growth and improvement in 2022.
Key to this partnership is the creation of a Sporting Director role taken up by former All Whites striker Kris Bright.
The Sporting Director will oversee an aligned playing style and philosophy established at both clubs, and facilitate player retention and movement in the senior men's space.
The Sporting Director reports directly to both clubs' boards.
Bright, a former professional footballer with clubs such as Linfield, Lincoln City, FC Haka and Shrewsbury Town, will work closely with the first team coach set-ups at both clubs.
Kris Bright - Auckland City FC Sporting Director
Bright said: "I'm delighted to be stepping into the Sporting Director role at Auckland City FC.
"I have had positive discussions with the clubs and the passion for their future vision is exciting.
"I am proud they believe in me and I look forward to helping build upon the foundations already in place."
The clubs first established their partnership in 2019 and focused on providing Skills Centres for its junior members and a Talent Development Program for aspiring youth.
Now there will be exciting opportunities for players in the senior space.
Bright will liaise with Auckland City FC coaches Albert Riera, Ivan Vicelich and Nic Downes and Metro FC's Danyon Drake and Nathan Christie throughout the season as each pursues their respective goals.
"We see both clubs sharing a linked training and playing environment at senior level.
"For example, a Metro FC player may train part of the week with Auckland City FC then part with Metro FC.
"Taking this approach places the emphasis very much on the needs of the individual player experience and provides the coaches with a wider catchment of players to work with," he said.
Ivan Vuksich - Auckland City FC, Metro FC and Kris Bright appointment
Auckland City FC chairperson Ivan Vuksich said this project should be viewed as bipartisan rather than driven by one club over another.
"The fact is we are both relatively small clubs in terms of membership numbers and capacity when compared with clubs that feature over a thousand members.
"We each want to contribute to the development of players and facilitate the ambitions of aspirational players and coaches at all levels of the game but we can't do it alone.
"Cooperation is essential. People will naturally wonder whether this means one club taking over another, or one being subservient to the other, but this isn't the case.
"We each have strong identities, rich cultures and histories and we can work together but still maintain who we are and what we stand for.
"Metro FC is one of the oldest clubs in New Zealand football and we want to see them thrive just as much as they want the same for us.
"Kris' role is a challenging one because it's new, because it hasn't been done before and so while we expect things to go smoothly we have also factored in room for ironing out any issues," Vuksich said.
Ant Owens - Metro FC perspective on Auckland City FC relationship
Metro FC chairperson Ant Owens was equally excited by the future.
"A lot of work has gone into this project by Auckland City FC and ourselves and we're excited by what's been achieved so far.
"The existing junior and youth relationship has gone well and with the senior space added to this we are optimistic for the future.
"Auckland City FC has achieved a lot of success locally and internationally and this next step in our partnership is a logical one.
"Smaller clubs must not be swept aside by much bigger clubs or be undervalued as pillars of the local community or historical assets.
"Our partnership allows both clubs to tackle that challenge head on while at the same time retaining our unique identities," he said.
For more information about the Auckland City FC and Metro FC Memorandum of Understanding, the role of the Sporting Director and the objectives, see contact details below.
Auckland City FC - Chairperson
Metro FC - Chairperson
Auckland City FC - Sporting Director
Auckland City FC - MOU Update links
Central United FC
Mount Albert Ponsonby AFC
Auckland City FC Academy Pathway
Saturday 8 October 2022, Cashmere Technical, 330pm, Kiwitea Street