with Mark Christie, chief executive, Waikato Bay of Plenty Football
We're at the mid-point of another busy season of football.
As it's the school holidays at the moment, all our junior and youth leagues are taking a break, but the children will be back on the park soon.
The WaiBOP Football Skill Centre programme designed to support the development of our very best 9 to 12-year-old players is underway with approximately 260 players involved from across the Bay of Plenty.
These players receive extra training under the guidance of an NZF-qualified coach and also participate in four separate game day events.
The NZF-linked Talented Player Development programme could be the first step to greatness for many of our young players.
WaiBOP is running a number of holiday fun football programmes across the Bay of Plenty during the holidays.
These are excellent opportunities for keeping the region's budding football superstars active in the game. Interest has been excellent and the feedback I've received from our team highlight one of the most crucial elements of the sport at that age group - the kids are having fun!
Our "Buy Your Own League" campaign, where local businesses have the opportunity to sponsor one of our leagues, has had promising results so far.
Several Bay of Plenty firms, including Eclipse Electrical and Anton Jones First National Real Estate, have taken advantage. Both have received good results for their businesses already.
If this interests your firm, you should contact James Bannatyne on firstname.lastname@example.org.
WaiBOP Football has entered a team into the National Women's League for this season.
Tauranga-based Barry Gardiner has recently been appointed head coach of the side for the summer 2016 season. We expect that there will be a good representation of players from Bay of Plenty clubs in the side.
The senior football season is nearing the business end.
Ngongotaha has a good lead at the top of the men's Loaded WaiBOP Premiership while both Otumoetai and Rotorua United are in the WaiBOP Women's Premier League title mix. It will be interesting to see how both of these highly competitive leagues play out.
In early May we appointed Jasmine Quilligan as the WaiBOP Women's Football Development Officer.
She has already spent a lot of time in the Bay and has some great ideas for the promotion and development of girls and women's football. She supports our local football development team.