Two leading Waikato football clubs have announced a partnership to share resources in ways that help develop players at all levels.
Hamilton Wanderers and Cambridge have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that sets out the ways they will work together to provide pathways for players to develop from junior football through to the highest possible levels of national competition.
The two clubs already share a Director of Football in former All Whites coach and player Ricki Herbert, and many of their young players are also being coached by the Ricki Herbert Football Academy.
Wanderers: ‘A pathway for players to reach the highest levels of the game’
Wanderers chair Dave Douglas says:
“Hamilton Wanderers are very excited about this partnership and the benefits it will provide to our young players as they move through their footballing pathway.
“The ability for a player to reach the highest domestic competitions without needing to move to a major metropolitan city is massive for them and even better is that this partnership offers a pathway for all players, not just those that aspire to reach the highest levels of the games as there are different offerings at all levels for the junior/youth players.”
Cambridge: ‘Outstanding opportunities for both clubs’ youth players’
Cambridge chair Greg Zeuren says:
“The signing of the MoU with Wanderers is a great moment for both our clubs. It formalises the close bond we have been building over recent years
“The opportunities it will bring for both clubs’ youth players are outstanding, and we look forward to the growth in player development and improving the quality of football in the Waikato region.
“The additional pathways opened through this partnership will allow our players the ability to play at the highest level of football available. We look forward to the future!”
Wanderers’ top men’s team compete in the Northern League and have played in the country’s top domestic competition, the National League.
The club is well-placed to qualify for the next National League competition.
Its top women’s team play in the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League and were runners-up in last season’s Kate Sheppard Cup, the top national cup competition for women’s football.
Cambridge’s top men’s side play in the Lotto NRFL second division, while their senior women’s team competes in the Waikato Women’s first division.
Both clubs have youth teams that participate in WaiBOP federation leagues and have competed at national events, such as the annual national U-19 tournament in Napier.
Ricki Herbert: ‘A logical and exciting opportunity for both clubs’
Director of Football Ricki Herbert says:
“This is a logical and exciting opportunity for the two clubs to determine what’s best for players at all levels, helping them reach their potential by playing in the competitions that best suit them.
“It also means both clubs and our academy can allocate the coaching resources to where they are most needed, and to support coaches as they work to improve their skills and knowledge.”
Wanderers’ Dave Douglas said the clubs’ relationship with the RHFA was “one of the initial building blocks to starting the dialogue around working together and it gathered momentum from there.
“Both clubs have been working on this partnership for a long time and to see it finally come to fruition is so exciting, as there some obvious similarities between how both clubs operate.
“There are also some differences but these will be helpful too, as those differences will allow both clubs to learn from each other.
“The opportunity to share resources, knowledge and offer a near complete footballing pathway for a young boy or girl is pretty special and we can’t wait to get things underway.”
Main photo: Cambridge chairman Greg Zeuren (left) and Wanderers chairman Dave Douglas (right) with a group of Cambridge and RHFA players.