Whole of Football Plan

Source: NZ Football


Our New Game Plan

Benefits of the Whole of Football Plan

How the Whole of Football Plan works

A Unified Framework

Stage 1 ready to kick-off

Stage 2 & 3 primed for action

Resources to make it a reality




Our new game plan

Football in New Zealand is perfectly placed to capitalise on some golden opportunities.


With international success, a higher profile and greater financial stability, we now have the chance to implement a national development structure to benefit participants at all levels. It involves everyone in the game working together, which is why it’s called the Whole of Football Plan (WOFP).


This master plan aligns all our development programmes to provide a unified pathway into the game and deliver a consistent experience to all participants. It’s not just about players – it also involves the ongoing development of coaches, referees and administrators.


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Benefits of the Whole of Football Plan

We all have a part to play, and we will all reap the rewards of a more professional and consistent approach. The benefits will include:


1. Growing the Sport

With a high quality development programme in place throughout the country, football will be better placed to retain and develop the young talent it discovers. In a nutshell, it will provide more quality football opportunities for more players – and that means more chances for Kiwis to develop a lifelong love of the game.


2. Transferring Best Practice

Our new programme has been extensively researched and developed over three years. It’s based on evidence, not opinions. The master plan draws on best practice from football development programmes around the world and then adapted to our unique New Zealand conditions.


3. A Consistent Experience

Our new approach allows clubs and other organisations to offer the appropriate competitions and skills development at all levels, in all regions. A player can move from Whangarei to Invercargill and pick up where he or she left off.


4. National Support for the Grassroots

The programme provides a turnkey operation that’s ready for regional and grassroots organisations to deliver to their stakeholders. With a significant chunk of initial funding provided up front, clubs and regional federations can focus on performance on the playing field.


The hard yards have been done. Key funding is in place and the programme is ready to be implemented. We encourage everyone who loves the game to support the WOFP approach – and help take football to the next level in New Zealand.


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How the Whole of Football Plan works

The plan will be delivered in three stages, starting with Junior development and moving into Youth and finally Senior development.


This is not just a programme for elite talent (although it will certainly help outstanding players make the most of their abilities). Our goal is for everyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or ability to enjoy a high quality football experience that’s tailored to their particular needs.


Whole of Football Plan


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A Unified Framework

As you can see, our plan provides a comprehensive model with coherent pathways and age-appropriate skills development.


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Stage 1 ready to kick-off

The programme is being introduced in stages to allow federations and clubs to implement the necessary structures rather than biting off more than they can chew. The logical place to begin is at the most junior levels of the game, where eager kids (and their parents) get their first taste of the sport.


As you can see from the framework diagram, the plan provides three programmes for our youngest players: First Kicks (4-5 years), Fun Football (6-8 years) and Mini Football (9-12 years). The needs of a four year old are quite different from the needs of a 12-year old, so we provide the framework and resources to give both a rewarding experience.


Whole of Football Plan - Stage 1


To ensure a smooth implementation, we’ve set out some key strategies and goals. These include the following:

  1. Establish and implement a National Junior Framework to provide clear guidance in the area of best practice for junior player development.
  2. Align ageappropriate coaching pathways with the Junior framework to improve the quality and relevance of Junior coaches and develop a culture of coaching excellence in clubs.
  3. Establish new products and services in the recreation pathways (including primary schools) to broaden the player base.
  4. Focus Regional Talent Centres on providing clear and consistent pathways for Junior and Youth players in their journey towards maximising their football potential.
  5. Develop and implement a national Junior girls’ football summer competition structure for 8-12 year olds.


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Stage 2 & 3 primed for action

Our phased introduction ensures that the game as a whole can focus its resources on getting things right in one area at a time. Building from the bottom up, we will progressively introduce new programmes for Stage 2 (Youth) and Stage 3 (Senior) once the national Junior framework is up and running.


These programmes will be implemented over the next three to six years as resources become available.


Whole of Football Plan - Stage 2 and 3


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Resources to make it a reality

Sport and Recreation New Zealand (Sparc) has recognised the value of our approach and approved the direction we’re heading in. Funding from Sparc, in addition to support from our new commercial sponsors and community partners, means that New Zealand Football can now introduce this comprehensive programme with a well-funded model.


This gives football a huge advantage at the grassroots. With base funding provided from the national level, local clubs and Federations will be able to kick start player development with a consistent approach. We’ll have the means to build on interest generated in the game, and deliver a great experience to players throughout the country.


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1. How is the plan being implemented?

New Zealand Football will work with the Federations to put in place a national team of over 30 Football Development Managers and Football Development Officers. Their job will be to bring the appropriate training, support and services closer to local clubs, to ensure the WOFP is successfully implemented. Once this structure is in place we will have something we’ve never had before: a national network of development officers at the grassroots. Their training and focus will ensure the plan becomes a reality.


2. How will this grow the sport in New Zealand?

The WOFP will give us the ability to retain and develop the talent we attract. Plenty of kids enjoy playing football but we have previously struggled to keep them involved as they progress through the age groups. Now we have the structure and resources to guarantee them a great experience at every stage, so they fall in love with the game and become long term players and supporters.


3. Why do we need a national framework?

Strong sports provide national competitions and development pathways to ensure young players are exposed to the best coaching and opportunities. The WOFP provides this vital framework for every player in the New Zealand game.


4. Where did you get the ideas and framework?

This plan is the result of three years spent researching best practice from football organisations around the globe. We studied programmes in the UK, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and Japan to find out what works. We also reviewed over 30 other football associations and national organisations, both domestically and internationally. Great ideas and programmes from around the world have been adapted and developed to fit the needs of the game here in New Zealand.


5. How will this help us create more world class players?

By increasing the quality of coaching and the whole experience at the grassroots, New Zealand Football will be able to keep more of the promising young players who currently drift away to other sports. They will experience a high quality development programme that gives them more opportunities to reach for the stars. More specifically, research into athletic performance has established that it takes eight to 12 years of well coached football practice and deliberate football play from a young age for players to become outstanding adult footballers. Player training that follows progressive development pathways is also linked to higher rates of lifelong participation. The WOFP provides young Kiwis with a development pathway based on these principles.


6. What about recreational players?

The framework provides pathways and structures for recreational players as well as emerging talent. We aim to get more people playing more often and falling in love with the game. By providing them with a great experience at every stage, we will attract and retain the loyalty of more families throughout the generations.


7. Who is providing the funding?

The WOFP draws resources from a range of strategic partners. These include community trust and commercial sponsors, as well as funding from Sparc and New Zealand Football income sources. The WOFP is a national priority which means it’s vital to co-ordinate the way its implemented and how the resources are provided for years to come. This more sustainable centralised funding will help free up the game’s administrators and club stalwarts to focus on providing a great football experience rather than chasing funding to make ends meet.


8. When does the programme take effect?

Stage 1 kicks off at the start of 2011. We aim to have the WOFP for ages 4-12 fully implemented by 2012 before rolling out Stage 2 (Youth) and Stage 3 (Senior) within the next few years.


9. What can you expect to see in 2011?

Junior footballers will be the first to see the fruits of the plan as the framework for 4-12 year olds is rolled out in 2011.


The introduction of Fun Football Centres, Football Festivals and holiday programmes for children under 12 years of age will provide more opportunities for children to play football in schools and community centres. In each federation, clubs will see First Kicks programme for 4-5 year-olds, Fun Football for 6-8 year-olds and Mini Football for 9-12 year-olds.


Teams are kept small – for example three-a-side for First Kicks and four-a-side for Fun Football – to give players more time each with the ball, and more chance to develop their skills and have fun.

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