The best football needs to be played at Christchurch United FC. We have the ambition to be the best football club in New Zealand. In order to become the best, we believe we need to combine the best coaches with the best players at the best facility. Being the best does not mean we need to win the youth grades in U13, U14, U15 and U17. But then, what is the best?
This year we have won the U13, U14 and U15 DIV I. And although it is nice to mention this, this is not what we believe should be the end goal. Within the Academy, we have the aim to develop youth football players in the best way possible. A couple of ingredients are really important for this:
- To have a world class facility
- To be surrounded by the best players possible
- To be coached by the best coaches possible
- To have the best curriculum and environment
- To have the pathway (s)
Probably the club’s most important target at this stage is to lift the quality of players. We have had trials, open trainings, and we have invited players to tournaments. The purpose is to bring in players that lift the intensity of trainings. They can do this with their variety of skills, from athleticism to decision making, and everything in the middle. While working on this process, a lot of people get back to me saying: “Why do you want to attract good players from other clubs? If you take the best players from other clubs, who are you going to play on the weekend? There will not be any competition anymore.” I agree, it will be a challenge to find a good competition for the players on the weekend. On the other hand I strongly believe that in order to be better than players produced in the past, you need to do more and more of a higher quality. Ideally players in our Academy train 5 times every week, and have a game on the weekend. If better players were to stay at other clubs we can have great battles on the weekend, but if they all come here we can have great battles 5 times a week. Then, if you do that 40 weeks of the year, you will develop faster than having 20 challenging games and 3 lethargic training sessions a week for 30 weeks of the year.
The process of selecting “the best players” is very difficult. With the Christchurch United coaches, we discuss qualities and potential of players each term, and based on that we assess players for the future. Because of the huge amount of subjectivity in these discussions, I am aware that we will make mistakes. We cannot prevent that. I also know that we will have to disappoint children and parents. We cannot change this.
To do this in the best way possible, we need to know what we look for in a player and we need to communicate in an open and honest way. We are eager to improve these two aforementioned points and we know we need to. Whether we do this or not will not change the fact that when selecting “the best” we are making decisions where we have to compare one child with another. The question we ask ourselves for every single player is: “How big is the chance that this player/child will be a professional football player?” Based on the answer to this question we select our teams. That is what performance based football is about.
Being the best means that we have the best possible environment for youth football players in order to support them in developing towards reaching their full potential. I can see the potential is just as high as in Europe. I know we can develop players for our National team. Do you think so too?