The season is approaching fast and we have achieved a huge amount as a Club over the last few months.

The Franklin United Youth Academy is merging its U13, U14 and U15 teams (boys and girls) together with the South Auckland Elite Academy to build quality in preparation for competing in the new premier competitions at youth level – the NRFL Y divisions.

As mentioned previously in my Franklin Speaking Frankly articles, this is a competition that has been developed by NZ Football to ensure that players from Taupo north are pitting their abilities against each other at the highest level.  Why do we want to do this?  Simply because we believe the players in our community deserve the chance to play against these teams.  This allows them the opportunity to get in front of the people involved in picking players from grassroots around NZ for NZ Age Group teams, therefore allowing them a chance to make a career out of football.  We want selectors to look at players in the South of Auckland, rather than being completely ignored as we have been in the past.

If you have read my previous articles, you will know my thoughts on getting the right coaches involved with these players.  It is the piece of the puzzle that we believe the most in and why we have invested heavily in getting the right coaches into our area.

Our first team has been transformed over the last few months with talented players coming into our area to compliment the local players.  Mix that with the 16 and 17 years olds that are breaking through from the Academy, and we are creating opportunities.

So why do talented young players travel from outside our area to come and play for Franklin United?  The coach.  Mark Holt is talented, professional and wants to develop players rather than stack a team full of finished articles.  Mark is passionate and wants the best for our region and it shines through in spades.  The players are committed to training three times a week, for the first time in Franklin United’s short past.  Mark’s coaching team, which includes former All White Tony Sibley (Technical) and local Pukekohe AFC boy Dylan Moxon (Fitness Coach) who has just finished his education in Sports Sciences, is made up of local, ambitious coaches who are also passionate about our vision.

The benefit of combining the academies is not just building more opportunities for our players, but we are now exposed to more quality youth coaching.

Marty Rodwell, who heads up South Auckland Elite Academy, is a qualified coach who has just been coaching the Eastern Suburbs National Youth Team.  Being exposed to coaches who are competing at this level creates the opportunity for our players to understand what it takes to make this grade and how to follow this pathway.

We keep working hard behind the scenes to reach our vision of creating a sustainable pathway in the talent space for footballing families in our community.

Jim Evans
Operations Manager