Top coach hosts youngsters in Cambridge

posted in: Media Former All Whites and Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has flown back to New Zealand to work with almost 40 talented youngsters at a football camp in Cambridge.

Herbert is now the national coach for the Maldives but returned to New Zealand for his academy’s national training camp, a five-day residential course for talented boys and girls aged 11-17.

The players used St Peter’s School for overnight accommodation and spent their days at Cambridge Football Club’s John Kerkhof Park, working with a team of coaches from the Ricki Herbert Football Academy.

The players came from as far north as Whangarei and as far south as Invercargill for the chance to develop their game.

Sessions included topics ranging from individual technique to what makes a world-class footballer.

Camp organiser Clive Herbert said he was thrilled with the outcomes of the camp as players had five days of fun and the chance to build friendships, as well as develop their footballing skills.

“We love working with kids who already have the enthusiasm to learn and I’m sure many of this group will get the chance to play at top level as they get older,” he said.

The RHFA has eight talent development centres in the North Island, helping youngsters improve, and the academy takes selected teams overseas every year so the players can test themselves against similar sides and benefit from travelling as a group.

In July, the RHFA will take three teams to Australia to compete in the Sydney Youth Cup. Last year, the academy took teams to Melbourne, the Gold Coast and to Europe where players visited top clubs in Barcelona and London.

The academy chose Cambridge as its national training camp venue because of its central location and because of the town’s support for elite sporting events.

Ricki Herbert visited the Cambridge Football Club last year as a guest speaker at a football lunch and was impressed by the club’s facilities, and the chance to make use of the nearby St Peter’s School for accommodation and evening meals.

“Cambridge is a great place for an event like this,” Ricki Herbert said.