Christchurch United sign Phoenix legend Paul Ifill

Paul Ifill and Christchurch United president Slava Meyn. Photo: Supplied
Paul Ifill and Christchurch United president Slava Meyn. Photo: Supplied
Christchurch United have signed Wellington Phoenix legend Paul Ifill as their new first team coach and head of a new women’s football academy.

“We are incredibly excited and proud Paul Ifill has agreed to join us as our new first team coach and we are confident his top-flight experience will help Christchurch United take another step towards building club’s high performance culture and future success,” said club president Slava Meyn.

Ifill will take over from Christchurch United icon Danny Halligan, who decided to take a break from the game after 28 seasons of coaching.

The 43-year-old Barbados international, agreed to take on the first team coaching role after recently visiting United’s headquarters at the Christchurch Football Centre to discuss the establishment of a women’s academy.

“When you see these facilities and you hear Slava’s passion and vision, it is hard not to be impressed. I think Christchurch United is the sleeping giant of New Zealand football,” Ifill said.

Ifill, who who appeared in 341 English league matches for Millwall, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace before joining the Phoenix in 2009, was forced to end his professional career due to injury in 2015.

After two seasons with Crystal Palace, Paul Ifill moved to the Wellington Phoenix, where he...
After two seasons with Crystal Palace, Paul Ifill moved to the Wellington Phoenix, where he played from 2009-2014. Photo: Getty Images
He continued to play in the National League for Team Wellington, Tasman United and Hawke's Bay United, where he developed his coaching career.

“I wasn’t looking for a head coaching role, but after being assistant at Tasman, Hawke's Bay and head coach at (Central League) Wairarapa, this opportunity is the perfect next step in my coaching career," he said.

Ifill also set up his own football academy, PIFA, in the Wairarapa and has been heavily involved in the women’s game with Wairarapa United and as the national coach of Samoa.

“The vision of Christchurch United is to create the best women’s academy in the country, starting off with the youngest age-groups and slowly growing, just like United did with their men’s academy,” Ifill said.

“Canterbury teams have dominated women’s football in this country, so there is huge potential in this region and we want to invest the resources to develop even more future Football Ferns."

Halligan, a former New Zealand international, is currently in his second stint at the club, during which he guided the squad to two English Cup finals and the brink of National League qualification.

“We are very thankful to Danny for his invaluable efforts to making the club great once more,” Meyn said.

Ifill also appreciated the work done by his predecessor with the men's team.

“It is a huge advantage to take over a team that had been moulded by such an experienced coach like Danny, at a club with the vision and resources to think big," he said.




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