Ole-Wests marriage back on
Ole Football Academy and Western Suburbs Soccer Club announced last week that they have joined forces to provide an opportunity for local footballers.
More than 100 players aged 11 to 19 will train at Ole and play for Wests in Capital Football competitions.
Two organisations are coming together again in a partnership that has a lot of history.
They were previously close, but went their own ways in about 2011, with Ole, based in the old Porirua Hospital grounds, connecting with Island Bay.
The time was right to rejoin forces, Ole director Nate Winkel said.
‘‘It’s a win-win for everyone, with our coaching and proven pathways joining up with our need to have our players playing regular games.
‘‘We’re going to be co-operating across the top level [premier and reserve grades for the seniors] and through the junior grades, as well.
‘‘A number of clubs are linked with academies these days and the geographical ties of Wests and Ole means this is a great fit.
‘‘We’re very excited about what the future holds and hope to do something that is the envy of other clubs.’’
Ole trainees would likely attend Porirua colleges instead of being educated at Ole, Winkel said.
Academy technical director Declan Edge will become a consultant to Wests’ senior teams and the junior players will get the benefit of his and five other coaches’ expertise at Ole.
The quick, possession-style football they encourage would help Wests’ players develop skills needed in the modern game, Winkel said.
Wests will now have multiple places to train and play – their home ground, Endeavour Park, along with artificial turfs at Ole and Ascot Park.
The club’s deputy chairman, Peter Gillespie, said Wests were keen to partner with Ole because of the ‘‘ splintered’’ scene in Wellington football.
They looked at other options, but the feeling within the club was very positive towards Ole.
‘‘It made sense and ticked a lot of boxes. We looked at their structure and methodology and what we want to achieve in our own five-year plan.
‘‘We’ve got a number of kids knocking on the door of rep, federation and New Zealand selection, but they need to go even further.
‘‘ Ole’s coaching is great and they can give our players better skills and we offer them something at the local level.’’
Gillespie said any talk of the Ole/ Wests union making it a closed shop was not correct.
Ole players would not automatically fill up Wests’ Central League team and nor would they dominate the junior ranks.
There are 55 Wests teams in the 7 to 11 age group.
‘‘We complement each other and you will see that coming out.
‘‘This is what the Porirua community needs in terms of football.
‘‘The top kids will always do well, but the good thing about this partnership is the next tier of players are going to be well served. Our coaches will get the benefits, too.’’
Winkel said trials would be held in the younger age groups in the coming weeks, followed by the seniors.