Former All Whites and Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert is delighted with the progress being made with Cambridge FC’s Future Reds programme.
After two terms of the Future Reds programme, Herbert says he can see it is already delivering benefits to young players.
“It’s a long-term programme but this year, the club and its players have taken the first steps – and they are the most important,” he says.
The Ricki Herbert Football Academy operates the Future Reds programme for Cambridge FC.
More than 140 boys and girls have enrolled for the programme this year. It has two components:
Player development (Monday)
Open to all players from 6th – 13th grades. The focus is on individual skills and technical development. These are not intended to replace weekly team coaching sessions but complement them by developing skills over time. We have room for more players.
Skill centre (Wednesday/Thursday)
By invitation, these sessions cater for the top two teams in grades 9-12, and develop individual skills in an environment where players are working in groups with others of similar ability. Again, these sessions don’t replace weekly team coaching sessions.
The Future Reds programme also oversees the coaching of our teams in the WaiBOP Federation Junior League (U-12 boys) and WaiBOP Federation Youth League (U-13 boys).
Herbert said the 140+ players who had enrolled this year were “pioneers” – the boys and girls who would begin what is now a much clearer progression of footballers through the junior grades.
“What the club has set up is visionary. There’s now an opportunity for every boy and girl, of every age and ability, to attend a programme that is designed to help them get the most from football.”
He said the Monday night programme – open to all players – was helping improve technical proficiency across the board and that helped boost players’ confidence in themselves.
RHFA is delivering NZ Football’s Whole of Football curriculum, and Herbert was making sure his academy’s programme was aligned to the aims of WaiBOP Football, the regional federation to which Cambridge FC is affiliated.
“We’re doing this properly, and over time we’ll see better development of young players as they progress each year.”
RHFA coaches implement the Future Reds programme and work with junior coaches at the club.
To help those coaches develop, Herbert runs monthly whiteboard sessions to provide coaching education.