After three years working together, the Ricki Herbert Football Academy and Waikato-based Hamilton Wanderers have extended their partnership to provide player pathways to the highest levels of domestic competition.
Wanderers compete in the ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership – the eight-team summer national league – and in the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League which is the northern region’s highest tier of women’s football.
RHFA’s Technical Director Kale Herbert is also head coach at Hamilton Wanderers.
Academy founder Ricki Herbert said the partnership was a natural progression as it provided an opportunity for graduates of RHFA skills centres throughout New Zealand to aim to compete at the highest-possible levels.
He said the RHFA had been delivering programmes for Wanderers junior players for three years, utilising senior men and women players from Wanderers to deliver the coaching sessions and at other academy programmes around the country.
Wanderers chairman Dave Douglas said entering into a formal relationship with the academy made a lot of sense for both entities after working so closely together in recent years.
“RHFA has some great programmes in place around the country and as those players start to reach senior football and want to push on to play in the top winter and summer leagues we can help provide that pathway if they can’t do so through their own club,” Douglas said.
“Unfortunately, not every club is able to offer access to the ISPS Handa Premiership in summer and men’s/womens Northern Premier League in winter, so this partnership can offer that pathway for any RHFA player no matter which programme they attend.”
The RHFA runs skills centres and programmes with clubs around the North Island including those in Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Taranaki.
Photo: From left – Gurdeep Rana (Hamilton Wanderers General Manager), Dave Douglas (club chairman), Kale Herbert (RHFA Technical Director and Head Coach at Wanderers), Ricki Herbert (founder RHFA).