The FIFA and English FA Youth Women’s National Team Coaches workshop got underway in Auckland today with two of the FA’s most well regarded coaches coming Down Under to share their expertise.

Brent Hills, the newly appointed FA Head of Elite Women’s Development, accompanied by John Allpress, currently working with Tottenham Hotspur, are sharing their experience with the head coaches of national women’s age-group teams from around Oceania.

OFC General Secretary Tai Nicholas opened the course by thanking the pair for travelling across the world to present a course which is important to the region as the profile of the women’s game continues to grow.

“I think the partnership that OFC has with the English FA is really strong and I would like to pass our thanks on to the Chairman and President of the FA for having such high calibre candidates to pass their knowledge on to you,” Nicholas said.

OFC Women’s Football Development Officer Nicola Demaine said it is a unique opportunity to have coaches from the national team of almost every OFC country learning from the likes of Hills and Allpress.

“We have the New Zealand team going away to Costa Rica and the Papua New Guinea ladies who are going to China for the Youth Olympic Games and some of you will be coming here for various tournaments like the OFC U-20 Women’s Championship,” Demaine said.

“This is specifically for you guys so you have an edge, some extra knowledge that you can use with your teams.

“So take what you can from these guys, learn what you can from each other and hopefully feed that back to all the other coaches in your federations.”

Hills said coming to New Zealand and meeting coaches from all across Oceania was a privilege for both himself and Allpress.

“We could be in damp, cold England at the moment, but we’re actually here – that’s the first thing, we’re happy to be here,” Hills said.

“Secondly, it’s a privilege for both John and I. We have done courses similar to this over the years in various places and have even been where you are, in attendance. But even as the people leading it, we learn a lot. We all take a lot away from this, and learn a lot and that’s why I particularly like doing this.

“So thank you to OFC and the New Zealand federation, and to my own federation, which has given us the chance to do this,” he said.

“I suppose what I urge you to do is just make sure on these three days with us, we all immerse ourselves in what we are going to do, so really take part in everything.”

Hills said the idea is to make the course as interactive as possible to allow each and every person present to share their views on what works, and what causes issues, so they can discuss ideas on how to improve.

“What we all need in women’s football is support because we don’t get enough of it generally. In this room right now is a built in network of support and hopefully you will be able to go away, and if you don’t already, pick up the phone and call anyone who is here today and exchange ideas about this course.”

The FIFA and English FA Youth National Team Coaching Workshop is being held in Auckland, New Zealand from 24-26 January.

The head and/or assistant coaches of national U-15, U-17 or U-20 squads are representing American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga.

Hills has extensive experience as a coach with some of the top clubs in England including Fulham FC. He has lectured in Sports and Exercise Science and has an MSc in Sports Coaching. Hills has a FA Coach Education diploma, UEFA Pro Licence and has Level 5 Psychology in Football.

Allpress has previously worked as a regional coach with the FA. He then worked in the academy at Ipswich Town before returning to the FA to coach the England U-16 and U-17 teams from 2000-2006, He developed and rolled out the FA Youth Award and Advanced Youth Award.

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