If you want to win a national title in football or futsal give Hawke's Bay's Aleesha Heywood a call.
Six months after coaching the Central under-14 girls football team to national title glory Heywood, 28, coached the Central under-16 girls futsal team to title honours at their national tournament in Wellington last weekend. The futsal side is the first Central girls team to win a national title and like the football side was unbeaten.
Coincidentally both national titles were won in Wellington. However Central Football development officer Heywood was quick to point out continuity, rather than venue, was the key factor in her latest success.
"All 10 of my side were in the under-14 team which finished third last year. I had high hopes going into the tournament. Despite only having one training session which all of the players attended I knew there would be enough knowledge and experience in the team to finish in the top two. I was quite happy with the title."
Six of the girls were from Hawke's Bay and the other four from Taranaki. The six Bay girls were goal keeper Anna McCaw, target player and captain Milla Green, pivot Stella Marshall and flankers Hollie Gee, Jamie Evans and Sophie Watt.
All of the Bay contingent apart from Watt were in the football side in January which became the first Central side in any age group to win a title in the 14-year history of that tournament. Last weekend the Central side which was managed by Annie Kane beat Waikato 3-1, Northern 11-1, Auckland 4-3, Wellington 6-3, Mainland 8-1 and Bay of Plenty 8-0 in the round robin tournament.
"While the four Taranaki girls are too old for the under-16 grade next year all six Bay girls will be eligible again so we will have a good chance of going back-to-back. It's in Wellington again so that could be a lucky omen for us," Heywood explained.
"I'm lucky that I coach all of the Bay girls apart from Sophie in the Napier Girls' High School futsal side so that helps too," Heywood said.
Watt, Evans, Gee, Marshall and Green are all in the Heywood-coached Taradale women's football side which will host Massey University in a Federation Cup semifinal at Taradale Park tomorrow.
Evans was three goals off the Golden Boot award for the under-16 girls grade last weekend. Hawke's Bay's Jack Parker, who helped the under-19 boys finish third, won the Golden Boot award in his grade.
The Central under-19 girls and under-16 boys teams finished fourth and the under-14 boys and girls teams finished fifth and sixth respectively.