WaiBOP Football's national women's team is gearing up for a season of rebuild after a disappointing 2018 campaign.
In that season, WaiBOP finished second to last, just a single point above Central United. The team was led by current Melville United coach Michael Mayne, but was hit by disruption which included a lack of preparation time due to other leagues still running, and the U-17 Women's World Cup, which two of their key players featured in.
The new WaiBOP women's team coach, Nicolas Girard, said there has been confusion around the National Women's League which may cause disruption, and with school competitions and play-off games from other leagues.
"In talking with players, I think there is a lot of confusion around what the National Women's League is, and having school competitions and play off competitions at the same time most definitely adds to this sentiment," Girard said.
"Asking players to go into a competition, against what should be the strongest competition they face, without training and yet very overloaded, is definitely dangerous towards their welfare and it doesn't provide a platform to showcase themselves at their best."
Girard said it is difficult to understand why WaiBOP performed poorly last season, but said that women's football is a growing interest in the WaiBOP region.
"I hope we are seeing more interest and awareness in the women's game locally though.
This has been evident at the Women in Football Forum's I have been conducting throughout the region which was open to parents, players, club administrators and coaches. Next stop, purposeful and strategic development of the game."
Girard said while the WaiBOP region had a large talent pool, the travel for players can play a part in causing slight disruptions.
"Similar to the likes of Central, we have players travelling far distances across dangerous roads and at dangerous times. I think Cambridge provides us with a reasonably accessible venue for most of the players.
"I honestly don't know the best solution, outside of putting a field on top of the Kaimai range. As a player, it's always nice to have a base home though for sure."
WaiBOP kick off their season on September 15 at John Kerkhof Park, against Auckland Football Federation, previously coached by Tracey Wrigley who is now part of the WaiBOP coaching set-up.
Girard said he is looking to build a new positive environment for the WaiBOP side, while also helping improve the national women's league.