THE 2012 year was a mixed bag for Southern Branch with success in the girls and women’s teams and local female player Matilda Potter representing the U17 national team in the Asian qualifiers.
Other successes were Brian Jamba’s selection in the Western Sydney Wanderers youth team and into Westfield Sports High School in Sydney.
The local indigenous programs also fared well winning both the girls’ and boys’ state indigenous football festival. Both teams also made the grand final at the national championship in Alice Springs.
Over 300 coaches attended courses across the region and the Skill Acquisition program went from strength to strength with other regions trying to snatch players in the off-season. The 2012 season will also be remembered for Football NSW competition review that almost destroyed the Southern Branch boys’ youth teams. Each age group lost more than a handful of players and some lost coaches. In some ways this may be seen as a blessing, the Southern Branch boys’ youth teams have been struggling for quite a number of years, languishing in division one and struggling to attract quality coaches. This led to player experiences in football in the region suffering with better players moving on.
In mid 2012 Southern Branch put together a technical plan that would see it become very competitive at premier two level, as quality coaches and players combine with a new senior men’s side. Although the competitions review meant there was no promotion to premier two, the plan is still being followed and with the majority of better coaches retained. This has meant that the level of coaching at Southern Branch, from the SAP to the youth league men and on to the girls’ and women’s, is superior to many premier league sides.
A new youth technical director, Nigel Richardson, has been brought on board to work with teams and their coaches on a weekly basis to maintain the high quality control on the level of coaching.
Nigel is a UEFA A Licence, FA level two and three instructor who was formerly with East Riding FA, Hull City, Newcastle United and other premier league and championships development programs.
David Field, who up until returning to Australia was coaching Arsenal U17 ladies, is the new director of coaching for the Eurobodalla area and will be running the satellite program while Robin Caulfield does the same in Goulburn.
This year will also be the first that all coaches (including goalkeeping coach Sam Tooley) will have an advanced coaching accreditation (A/B/C licence) with Joe Leedham, Carl Webster, Don Robb and Sam Tooley attending the C licence, whilst Jim Ford is also completing his A licence.
The regional league, which the U12-15 youth boys will compete in, will see Southern keeping its games at home as well as playing against Sydney based associations and State League one clubs and Western NSW. This means that the level of competition will be slightly higher than last year’s division one youth league.
The men’s and under 20 teams have been placed in state league two with a target of promotion into state league under the tutelage of Brod Crighton and David Boscoscuro. This will provide local players from across Southern NSW with the opportunity to play at a substantially higher level. This may not be for all players, some who are frightened that they might be exposed or not good enough to play at a higher level and wish to remain the big fish in the small pond may be the ones left thinking “what if” later on in their careers after winning 10 Shoalhaven competition winners jackets, while other players are paid for playing.
We always try to get feedback from players and parents when players move onto to other sports or clubs. The main excuse given is that they want to try another sport or didn’t enjoy the experience. Whilst this may be the excuse the reason is that most of the time the players have not been taught enough, or developed enough technical and tactical skills that are required when players hit 13 and 14.
So what’s in store for 2013? The main change will be seen in attitude. People always talk about development, which is a massive part of my role, but often development is a word that is used as an excuse for poor performance. A winning culture is something that needs to be adopted by all. This is different from a win at all costs attitude, instead it involves taking away fear of losing rather concentrating on each players desire to win by focusing on strengths and making every training session as competitive as the game.
Players and parents not currently involved in Southern, who think they have something to offer either in terms of playing; managing; sponsoring or assisting in other areas, please do not hesitate to get in touch by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
James Muir, Regional coaching and development manager, Southern Branch