Academy founder Ricki Herbert is broadening his career by successfully combining his football leadership and business skills.
The former All Whites and Wellington Phoenix coach has recently moved into a mentoring role with a large Hamilton-based business, prompting him to refine his commitments.
As a result, Herbert has stepped down from his summer coaching role at Hamilton Wanderers, to be replaced by son Kale Herbert who is head coach at the Ricki Herbert Football Academy.
“I will continue to have major commitments to football through the academy and my roles as Technical Director at Cambridge Football Club and Football Development Manager at Wanderers,” he explained.
The handover of duties with the Wanderers ISPS Premiership role should be smooth as Kale Herbert has been Ricki’s assistant for the past two seasons. He is also the Wanderers’ winter coach for the club’s Lotto NRFL side.
Since relocating to the Waikato three years ago, a number of business-related opportunities have opened up to the former New Zealand international.
“While it’s not coaching on the pitch, as such, it’s been great to pass on all the lessons and experiences from playing and coaching at the highest level to people in a totally unrelated industry.
“Football has been my life and now being able to transition from being on the field to being in a boardroom or other corporate environment has been really enjoyable.
“I’m at a stage in my life now where getting the chance to work in those environments is exciting and one that I’m looking forward to doing more of.
“Likewise, the growth of our academy has been huge over the last 18 months and I am really keen to be able to spend more time with the academy coaches and players which this decision will help me to do.
“RHFA and Hamilton Wanderers have developed a great working relationship and I look forward to developing that even further in the future.”
Herbert’s leadership and management skills have been honed by a football career that has seen him play and coach internationally, in countries as diverse as the United Kingdom, India and the Maldives.
His World Cup successes – as a player at the 1982 finals in Spain and as an unbeaten coach at the 2010 finals in South Africa – have led to consulting work with football’s world body FIFA.
And he understands the special challenges of start-up businesses, having been the foundation coach for Hyundai A-League club Wellington Phoenix.
“Top-level football provides a range of challenges and teaches you how to cope with fast-changing conditions in a high-pressure environment. The lessons can be transferred into other situations such as business,” Herbert said.