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Whole of Football pilot ready to kick off

Whole of Football pilot ready to kick off
February 22, 2011

A pilot of a groundbreaking National Player Development Framework will be rolled out in up to 100 football clubs throughout New Zealand this winter in another key milestone for New Zealand's Whole of Football plan.

Launching with the Junior Framework for children aged four to 12, the clubs will implement a new standardised small-sided games model and adopt the player and coaching philosophies that inform the internationally-benchmarked Whole of Football plan.

Feedback from pilot clubs will be used to fine tune the national roll-out of junior programmes to New Zealand's 500 football clubs in 2012, and subsequent launches of youth and senior frameworks in 2014 and 2016 after respective pilots in 2013 and 2015.

It is the first time football in New Zealand has had a player development framework that provides pathways for all players regardless of age, ability or motivation with the aim of retaining participants for longer and producing more world class players.

New Zealand Football's Director of Football Development John Herdman says the role of the pilot clubs in leading the way cannot be underestimated.

Herdman explains "the pilot clubs will be the first step in raising standards throughout New Zealand; the first step in providing a consistent evidenced-approach to football built on world's best practice.

"These clubs give us an opportunity to understand what impact this programme will have on junior football.

"We understand best-practice and that these things have had a significant impact on football around the world. We've aimed to present a flexible programme for football clubs in New Zealand but we have to understand how the delivery works within the club environment and look for opportunities to improve before the national roll-out."

Federations are working with clubs in their own region to identify those best-placed to implement the new programmes in 2011.

Assisting the pilot clubs with training and support, is an enlarged and newly-aligned workforce of 40 football development staff who will be spread throughout the federations assigned to individual clubs.

John Herdman adds that "clubs will receive new levels of support from federations and New Zealand Football to help drive the game forward at the grass roots level."

In addition to the junior pilot, Football Development Officers will be delivering services available to all clubs including an augmented coach development programme, fun football centres (for four to eight year olds) and school holiday programmes (for seven to 11 year olds).

The Whole of Football Plan aligns national and federation development programmes to provide a unified pathway into the game and deliver a consistent experience to all participants.

The National Player Development Framework and the Whole of Football Plan overview are available from the New Zealand Football website at

Image: Simon Elliott in action for the All Whites.



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