Football club gears up for season

Bucklands Beach AFC academy coaches, from left to right, Charlie Hunn, Calvin Opperman, Martin Bolton (Club Captain), Munith Naidu (Director of Football), and Gemma Lewis. Photo supplied.

Bucklands Beach Association Football Club has trials starting next week and its players and coaches have been gearing up for the upcoming season with a summer academy.

In 2016, the club appointed Munith Naidu as its new director of junior and youth coaching.

Mr Naidu has introduced coaching programmes across the grades and has recruited a team of coaches for the 2017 season.

Vice president of Bucklands Beach AFC, Andy Pullar, said for the first time the club developed and delivered an academy programme over summer.

More than 200 players took part in the 10 week programme.

“There is no rest in the footballing world, Munith and his team are now hard at work putting together a preseason academy designed to whip the kids in shape in time for the club trials,” Mr Pullar said.

Club trials start on February 8. Mr Pullar said Bucklands Beach AFC is dedicated to providing a pathway for all players.

“Our goal is to deliver the best quality programme with well qualified professional coaches to ensure fun, safety and personal development for all players no matter what their level of ability.”

He said the club is also very excited to be growing its membership every year and that in 2016, Bucklands Beach AFC became the first club in New Zealand to be a New Zealand Football-approved skill centre.

“We also provided a record number of attendees to club-based referee courses and New Zealand Football coaching courses.”

If people are interested in playing football at Bucklands Beach AFC this season, they can visit www.bbafc.org.nz to register, or email:secretary@bbafc.org.nz.
Bucklands Beach AFC academy coaching staff

Gemma Lewis will lead the girls youth development. Lewis played for the Welsh under 17, under 19 and senior national teams, has played for Cardiff City and Chelsea FC in the women’s English Premier League and is an Auckland Football Federation development officer.

Frank Belt played for Hull City in the English Championship and has coaching experience in the Northern League and is a current Northern Football Federation talent centre head coach.

Calvin Opperman represented New Zealand under 17 at the World Cup in Mexico and has coaching experience at university level in the United States.

Charlie Hunn has eight years coaching experience at Bucklands Beach AFC, four years as a Coerver Academy coach and was the head coach of the Howick College 1st XI 2016 champions.

Reuben Clarke is the current New Zealand under 17 goalkeeper coach, Auckland Football Federation talent centre goalkeeper coach and is charged with taking care of the goalies at Bucklands Beach AFC.

This group is assisted by two long-standing club members, Gareth Martin and Richard Thompson.