Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.
The words of a true legend, recognised by some as the best player of the beautiful game EVER and words that rang true for a group of Franklin United Academy members who were lucky enough to spend part of their recent school holidays training in Porirua, Wellington at the highly regarded Ole Football Academy.
The 33 boys and girls from the 11th, 12th and 13th grade flew down to Windy Wellington to experience a taste of what it is like to be completely immersed in the world of the football professional. Talks about nutrition, talks about tactics, motivational speakers, all combined with a continuous diet of football drills, skills and Rondos.
Ole Football Academy is recognised as one of the leading football academies in New Zealand. Established in Wellington since 1997, under the stewardship of former All Whites manager Dave Wilson and his son Mike, who made seven appearances for the All Whites in the early 2000s. Supported by Declan Edge, Ben Sippola and Mark Atkinson to name a few, the Academy has had 30+ players placed at U.S. Universities on scholarship, over 20 age group international team selection and placed 10 players in professional environments.
Ben Fletcher Franklin United’s Director of Football embraces playing ‘the ole way’ and sees enormous value in the connection the two Academies have.
“We have been connected with Ole now for over two years, and everyone that visits, whether they be coaches, players, volunteers; we all get a huge amount out of it both personally and in our football. Their level of professionalism and skill is something we are building towards at Franklin United and obviously we would like to see some of our own boys and girls reach the same level of playing and involvement in the world of football that Ole has achieved.”
The time spent in Wellington this year is part of developing what Ben describes as the desired ‘culture of football’ that he is working on developing at FU and he sees that flowing through the entire network of football from participating, viewing, supporting and playing.
“Developing transparency from the top down, from the federations, through to the clubs, the players, there is an amazing amount of change happening within the football environment and the future I believe is exciting with Danny Hay appointed as the All Whites coach. He has been both a player and a coach and understands how important that culture is.”
The trip signalled the end of the regular season for football, but the training at FUYA is still in full swing. Training continues at Pukekohe and Drury venues and anyone interested in developing their skills in the off season are welcome to take part.