Mid way through the season, the cold dark nights are upon us, but it is heartening to the soul to drive past football training grounds and see players of all ages and sizes buzzing around. It reminds me of how far we have come when I watch the players in the academy train and I can see development happening in real life. The first team are progressing weekly under Tracy and her team and the players involved in the overall squad should be proud of what they are achieving. I am watching from afar, another group of players getting better EVERY time they hit the turf. And I am not the only one noticing. Our vision is alive and well.

I always like to check in with the Franklin United teams goals and ambitions. Our vision is still clear CHECK. We want to represent Franklin in the NRFL Premier Division CHECK. We want to have a team in each age group from 13-17 in the AFF Metro Divisions, or what is now fast becoming the NRFL Youth Leagues. CHECK. You would have read about this in the latest newsletter and we have been visiting our member clubs and gratefully being part of their recent committee meetings. It is refreshing to have the opportunity to communicate the vision and receive feedback from other passionate footballing people. Becoming a Y Licence club is important for our community and allows the opportunity for our teams to play in the NRFL Youth leagues with the idea of not getting relegated. Development over Results. This is why there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes in getting this right.

The other key point that we have been discussing at the member club committee meetings (Tuakau and Drury so far) is our ability to put together a pathway for the women’s side of the game. This is critical for our region and it will take all member clubs to put their resources together to allow this to happen. In 2020, we want to have a Division 1 Senior side. We already have a FUYA 16th grade girls team whom will be playing in the same grade again next year, and we want to introduce a 14th or 13th team as well. There are people in our region whom want to take this project on – it is very doable. Our first focus in to get an Under 19 girls team to the new side of the Napier National tournament over Labour weekend. We have been sending a boys team down for more than 10 years now so it would be great to get a girls team down there also.