Football has long been a poor cousin next to Rugby in New Zealand and Football in South Auckland; (although being the fastest growing sport in our area) has long been at the mercy of the more central Auckland clubs who glean the best players through a process of size, resource and overall performance at both age group and national level.
The local establishment of Franklin United with the support of AFF (Auckland Football Federation) and the local member clubs Pukekohe AFC, Drury United SC and Tuakau SC aims to change that to ensure that Football can be a pathway for talented young Franklin footballers, referees, and coaches from local age group representation through to the Phoenix and with overseas clubs while continuing to play in their own back yard.
Established in 2016, the club now is in a position to gain “Y” status NZF accreditation which will be paramount next season to obtain entry into the new proposed Northern Regional Football Youth League (NRFL)a regional competition designed to develop the most talented domestic footballers, referees and coaches and provide a pathway to national and international honours. Only clubs that have this accreditation will have automatic entry into this competition. Franklin United aims to successfully work alongside all the clubs in the area to identify and nurture talent within a local footballing environment from a young age and support that talent to create the next generation of New Zealanders taking on the worlds footballing finest.
The approach is two-fold according to Operations Manager Jim Evans, “Firstly we need to develop our coaches and ensure they are getting the support and training needed to deliver successful programmes in the football talent space.
Secondly, we need to ensure that all members of our community get the chance to become part of the Development Academy no matter where they live in our area, and the resources their families have at their disposal. This includes working with families to ensure they can reap the development benefits of what an academy training programme offers, irrespective of any barriers that exist.
This approach echoes what New Zealand Football are trying to achieve by retaining the vast numbers of young people who play football at a junior level through into High School and beyond, continuing to develop their skills and graduating into talented young footballers ready to progress on the worlds stage.
Internationally, opportunities exist for talented footballers, and Jim wants to see Franklin United players taking their fair share.
“Our footballers need to be versatile, our role is to develop a growth mindset combined with a grit and determination to produce footballers who can think of a solution on the field in a situation that is going to produce a result that benefits the team. We encourage our teams to take risks and dominate possession through positional play and recognising the moments to progress and penetrate. We want our players to put themselves under pressure through deliberate practice and risk taking so they can adapt and learn under pressure. Therefore we set KPIs like the amount of passes we can achieve in a game, rather than focusing on the final score. We have been talking at Board Level about our Age Group 17s team making 700 plus passes per game and discussion with our Age Group 11 players where they are asked about how many passes they made, not the score. Its fantastic and there is plenty of time in their footballing life where results will matter more, at this stage, it is important to ensure they develop technically and retain a passion for the game.”
Contacts with the ball, has long been recognized as one of the best ways to cement skills and the Franklin United youth academy offers that ability for footballers who see a future in football to keep up those contacts even in the off season. Headed by Director of Football Ben Fletcher the academy programme is delivered by coaches who have or are working towards completing certification courses to ensure they deliver the best programmes.
Training is year-round at the academy, 3 times a week and is focused on the 3 c’s: Cognition, Competence and Character.
“The NZF license criteria states that our coaches must be certified so that is important to us. They are mentored within our own environment to ensure we play the “Franklin United Way” through team models, the Franklin United DNA and our philosophy. We use a lot of repetition during training, methods such as rondos encourage decisive thinking and moves in a 12-year-old, that become second nature when in a few years they are needed in a high-pressure senior game situation. Its all about learning and learning from mistakes at training and in a supportive atmosphere creates the best players.”
Jim acknowledges that Franklin United is not about to create a complete team of players good enough to be considered for the All Whites in the next 2 or 3 years, but he is adamant about creating for the Franklin area an atmosphere whereby aspiring young coaches, footballers, referees, volunteers and lovers of all things football can flourish in an environment that supports the best thinking, encourages sound practice and judgement and celebrates success that is created, nurtured and shared all from a local beginning.
If your child is considering a career in football, and you want to you want to find out more about the benefits of the Franklin Youth Academy.
Contact Franklin United to find out more. Visit their website www.franklinunited.nz or email firstname.lastname@example.org
FRANKLIN UNITED YOUTH ACADEMY
The Franklin United Youth Academy (FUYA, pronounced foo-yah) is targeting talented players in the Franklin region aged 10-17 years old. The Academy will select one team from each age group each season, and this team will play under Franklin United.
Franklin United has a full-time Director of Football, Ben Fletcher, who oversees the Academy and works with the coaches to deliver the Academy programme based on the 3c’s:
- Cognition – Our aim is to develop Franklin players that display outstanding skills and strategies to use a reflective model before, during and after performance.
- Competence – Our aim is to develop Franklin players that have excellent technical skills and attributes to play under high-pressured moments, with a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of how to tactically manage games.
- Character – Our aim is to develop Franklin players that demonstrate characteristics of an exceptional standard of nature, which will equip the players with strategies and a growth mindset to excel on and off the field.
- Pyramid Tier – Our aim is to develop Franklin players with the understanding of a balanced life style and the demands of high performance in football, which is a foundation and support, of the 3C’s.