Christchurch United Coaches Get Incredible Experience in Barcelona

Six Christchurch United coaches this week returned from two unforgettable weeks at the TOVO Academy in Barcelona that will benefit the club’s players for years to come.

Christchurch United have created a strong partnership with TOVO director Todd Beane, who has worked with some of the biggest clubs in the world, and last year visited our club.

Players and coaches from around the world visit and stay at his Barcelona academy and this year Christchurch United accepted Beane’s invitation to let six staff members take part in his coaching development programmes.

The six from Christchurch, Lew Gordon, Jude Fitzpatrick, Mat Boon, David Murdoch, Davend Henry and Matt Carruthers, were joined by 20-odd other football coaches from around the world to learn from Beane.

The American’s vision on player development was shaped during years of working alongside his father-in-law, Dutch legend Johan Cruyff, during his time as FC Barcelona and Ajax Amsterdam. Both clubs still operate on Cruyff’s Total Football principles.

The coaches attending the course were challenged to question their personal beliefs and assumptions about coaching, and taken through a process to rethink and redesign talent development.

Matt Carruthers, one of the lucky ones to be part of the course, says that the Christchurch United coaches now have clarity and tools to create their own coherent training program to maximise the talent at CUFC.

“By the end of the course, we fully understood how TOVO develops total footballers and we were provided with the knowledge and resources to execute a dynamic program for our players,” says Carruthers.

“I truly believe that we will have remarkable success in developing players of vision, precision and pace.”

CUFC Academy Coaching Director Colin Williamson says that six of his coaches attending the Barcelona coaching course, demonstrates that the club is committed to continuous development of their coaches.

“Unlike most other clubs in New Zealand, we are not satisfied with just a few teams to be trained by a good coach, but want every team from the under-6 teams to the First Team to get the best coaches,” says Williamson.

“That is why we made this significant investment in our staff to expose as many coaches as possible to world-class coaching practices,” says Williamson who was grateful for the generous support of one of the club sponsors who enabled the coaches to travel to Barcelona, “so it did not come out of the club’s regular budget”.

The Academy Director says that the players have already seen the benefits, with the coaches putting their new skills into practice at the Christchurch Football Centre.

“TOVO’s programmes aim to develop players of great cognition, competence and character, which all fits perfectly in the philosophy of Christchurch United, and we look forward to seeing how our players will respond.”

(From Left: Lew Gordon / Jude Fitzpatrick / Mat Boon / David Murdoch / Davend Henry / Matt Carruthers)