Canterbury duo selected for Fifa coaching programme

Tessa Nicol. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Tessa Nicol. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Tessa Nicol is set to have her coaching boosted alongside a select group from around the world.

The 26-year-old student is one of three New Zealanders selected for Fifa’s coach education scholarship programme.

Nicol joins 46 others, including Canterbury duo Alana Gunn and Annalie Longo, from 27 countries.

The programme is designed to increase the number of female coaches in football.

Alana Gunn. Photo: Getty Images
Alana Gunn. Photo: Getty Images
Each will be paired with a world-class mentor coach, who will be able to help boost their coaching throughout the year.

Nicol, who lives in Dunedin, said it would be a great opportunity and she was "pretty overwhelmed" to have been selected.

She would find out her mentor later in the month and said the relationship could be tailored to suit the individual coach.

"Everyone has different reasons why they wanted to be on the programme," she said.

"I think for me, personally, I’d like to have the opportunity to send through training sessions and get feedback on the way I communicate with players. And session plans - and am I getting the outcomes I’m wanting to get?

"

Annalie Longo. Photo: Getty Images
Annalie Longo. Photo: Getty Images
Having someone to sit down with me and go through with me the athletes at this training session were really good, but next time can you focus on A, B and C."

Nicol was a goalkeeper for New Zealand at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in 2016. She also had a stint training with the Football Ferns in Auckland.

She returned to Dunedin to take up the women’s development officer job at Football South, which she held until late 2020, when she left to study.

Since then, she has spent time both coaching and playing, although coaching is where she would put her attention for now.

Nicol plans to take a year off playing and will spend time working both with locals and the New Zealand under-17 team - both with an emphasis on goalkeeper coaching.

"It’s something I’ve been really passionate about for a really long time, but I haven’t had the time to invest in it.

"So I’ll be specifically focusing on goalkeeper coaching this year, which is exciting.

"I’m hoping, fingers crossed, I’ll get paired with someone who knows a bit about goalkeeping coaching.

"But if I’m not, it doesn’t matter. They’ll be able to look at my coaching as a whole and give me a bunch of feedback."

jeff.cheshire@odt.co.nz

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