Nic Millichip from Katikati FC is like thousands of volunteer coaches throughout New Zealand who just love being involved in the game.

The Katikati Football Club under-10s coach is renowned for his positive manner and unselfish support of his players.

Personal reward is the last thing on his mind.

So when he was awarded the WaiBOP regional award winner in the McDonald's Junior Football Coach of the Year he was thrilled.


Then on Tuesday he won the ultimate prize.

Millichip beat the challenges of the other six regional winners to be named the 2016 McDonald's Junior Football Coach of the Year.

He won a coaching equipment pack to use for training and games and a trip to Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup in December, which includes joining Auckland City's coaching group to see first-hand how they prepare for the international stage.
"Well you are always hopeful aren't you but it is a tough competition and there are some good coaches around," Millichip said.

"It is a great honour and it really is just humbling in a way to think you have actually got there above some of the other people to be honest.

"I am absolutely stoked.

"I love watching what the kids do at practice and watching them develop each year and what they pick up as footballers, plus the friendships that start to form as they develop as a team.

"You can see the rounder things that come with it as well."

New Zealand Football junior development manager Owain says the selection process was far from easy for each federation after being inundated with entries.

"The calibre of coaches nominated was very high and we have received glowing recommendations for them from their club staff, parents, players and also their regional football federation," he said.

"Volunteer coaches are key to helping young footballers fall in love with the game.

"Their role is to help children have a positive experience at an early age, igniting a passion for the game and learning skills that will be with them for life.

"New Zealand Football are delighted that McDonald's are rewarding our junior football coaches, valuing the high-quality work they do and the sacrifices they make."

Millichip is looking forward to the whole experience to come in Japan but particularly working with Auckland City.

"Just seeing the professionalism and how they approach things, what they do with the players with tactics and strategies, the mental aspect of how they approach each game," he said.

"How you make a team the best for what you have available is what I think could come out of that."

Football in Western Bay at junior levels continues to grow which Millichip says is good for the game's future.

"This is a great region to play. We don't get too cold and we also don't get too hot. The opportunity to be outdoors in a nice environment is right there," he said.

"We have good numbers here and we are getting good follow through and getting kids into the sport and retaining them."