Words: ACFC Media
Friday 10 November 2017
AUCKLAND, New Zealand – The ‘godfather' of New Zealand football, Ivan Vicelich, is excited about a role which will see him nurture some of New Zealand’s next generations of players as Technical Director of Auckland City Football Club’s Player Development Programme (PDP).
Now assistant coach to the first team, Vicelich joined the Navy Blues in 2008 as a player following eight seasons in the Dutch Eredivisie. He was a mainstay in New Zealand’s 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign and won the Bronze Ball at the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup for his individual contribution to Auckland City FC’s remarkable run to the bronze medal. With 88 internationals to his name, he remains the All Whites’ most capped player.
Blair Shaw, head of Auckland City FC’s PDP said Vicelich was the obvious choice to lead the programme, now in its third year.
“While Ivan’s a huge part of this club already, it still feels like a coup to land him in this role,” said Shaw.
“With his coaching experience at Auckland City and playing career here and abroad, he’s so well placed to impart ‘The Auckland City Way’ to an even younger generation of players.
“These kids can learn a style of football that is successful on the international stage and do so in a fun environment that covers more than just football.”
The Auckland City FC PDP is an individual player development programme for open to junior and youth players aged between six and 15. It aims to develop and nurture players to become “the best versions of themselves on and off the pitch”, performing to the best of thier ability no matter what level they aspire to.
Vicelich’s role will see him oversee the introduction of programmes for 6-10 year olds for the first time this year. He will also assume responsibility for training the PDP’s team of qualified coaches and technical instructors – including some Auckland City FC first team players – thus strengthening the alignment from first team to youth team and through to the PDP.
“We’re building players to later perform for an Auckland City team, so therefore working on those aspects of a player’s game that will help shape them into an Auckland City player for the future,” said Vicelich.
“Every player needs to be adaptable to every style so we they will get a well-rounded technical instruction but we will make sure players have the building blocks and technical traits so as they progress they are armed with the ability to play the Auckland City style.
“If you don’t focus on developing the technical gifts at an early age it’s much harder to pick those things up later on.
“And of course, it’s also a way the club can develop its own future players, help bring through some home-grown players and have a direct impact on the way they are learning and developing.”
The Auckland City PDP is run in two six week phases with the next beginning on November 13 followed by phase two beginning in early February.
Vicelich says parents can expect a holistic approach that covers not just football but also injury prevention and sport science as well as an equally important focus on some personal traits.
“Not only are we hoping to grow kids into Auckland City players but we’re also hoping to instil values into them as people – values that the club hold dear and that we hope will contribute to them being better on and off the field.
“As a club, the character of players is really important to us and our success, so that will also be a big part of the learning process within the Auckland City PDP right down to how they conduct themselves at training and the respect they show for teammates, staff and parents.”
Sessions are run on Monday and Friday afternoons for both the 6-10 and 10-15 age groups starting with hour-long skill sessions the younger group and more focussed delivery over 90-minute academy sessions for 10-15 year olds.
Sun 21 Oct 2018, kick-off 2pm NZST