Soccer: New WaiBop team tackle national league

By Peter White


An ASB Premiership licence is expected to be awarded within coming weeks and WaiBOP's proactive approach allows the coaching team to begin implementing a thorough scouting strategy that will ensure a strong network of the best players is established.

Peter Smith, from Tauranga, will take up the role as head coach.

Smith, a current National Talent Centre coach for New Zealand Football, has plenty of experience in national competitions. In 2010 he coached the Waikato Football Club (WFC) youth team to their highest ever finish in the National Youth League and in 2011 he led WaiBOP to the final of the National Women's League.

Smith says he is excited about the new role and the challenges ahead with a WaiBOP team in the ASB Premiership.

"It is an exciting time for sure with the new team and the change of entity from Waikato FC," he said.

"We will be able to provide a clearly defined pathway for our quality young players from the federation talent centres, through the WaiBOP youth squads and then the next step is through to the first team.

"I am comfortable with the support team we have who are more than capable of putting it all together."

Smith, who already holds coaching qualifications from the Scotland FA, is completing his New Zealand Football Senior Level Three coaching certificate and is due to get it before the start of the ASB Premiership in November.

With the new role, Smith will relinquish his duties as WaiBOP football development manager. Other coaching appointments include ex-All White Che Bunce as assistant coach, Neil Mouncher as goalkeeper coach, and director of coaching at Ngaruawahia United, Norm Rose, as manager.

The youth team will be led by Paul Drake, who is based in Waikato, and assisted by Bay of Plenty's Tony Chegwidden.

WaiBOP chief executive, Cam Mitchell says the new team offers great opportunities for both players and coaches across the entire Waikato and Bay of Plenty region.

"It's exciting to think that WaiBOP United's entire coaching team have coached on WaiBOP Federation Talent Centres within the past two years," he said.

"The FTC programme is now a clearly defined pathway from youth to senior football, both for elite players and elite coaches."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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