UH coach nets top hon­our


Brent Win­del­burn was dumb­struck when a Cap­i­tal Foot­ball rep­re­sen­ta­tive turned up at train­ing last week and told him he would be go­ing to the United Arab Emi­rates.

He will be land­ing in Abu Dhabi later this year to get a be­hind-the-scenes look at Auck­land City’s prepa­ra­tions for the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup as part of the McDon­ald’s Ju­nior Foot­ball Coach of the Year award.

The Up­per Hutt City Foot­ball Club 9th grade pre­miers coach knew he had won the re­gional coach­ing award but was taken by ‘‘com­plete sur­prise’’ to be named the na­tional prize win­ner.

‘‘It com­pletely blew me away. It’s nice to be recog­nised be­cause you do put a bit of time and ef­fort in.’’

Win­del­burn was one of seven re­gional fi­nal­ists in the run­ning for the na­tional prize which is in its sec­ond year.

McDon­ald’s and New Zealand Foot­ball jointly run the awards and wanted to pro­mote coaches who dis­play pos­i­tive be­hav­iour on and off the pitch, sup­port play­ers pos­i­tively from the touch line, in­tro­duce new play­ers to the game and help out in their lo­cal com­mu­nity.

He did not know whether there was any se­cret to be­ing a good coach - he just tried to get to know his play­ers.

‘‘It’s about get­ting to know the kids and the team, and learn­ing how far you can push them with­out be­ing detri­men­tal.

‘‘We’re also teach­ing them about life. You teach them to be good sports­men, not just good foot­ballers.’’

Sup­port from Up­per Hutt City FC had had a pos­i­tive im­pact on him as a coach.

He was very ex­cited about tak­ing his wife on the trip to Abu Dhabi.

‘‘Just to be in an­other cul­ture will be cool.

‘‘To see teams like Real Madrid will be ab­so­lutely amaz­ing. I will get to ex­pe­ri­ence what top level foot­ball is like.’’

Win­del­burn’s chil­dren aged 14, 11 and 9 were all keen foot­ballers and green with envy over the trip.

‘‘The first cou­ple of days were a bit rough, but they are get­ting over it now.’’


Welling­ton Phoenix cap­tain An­drew Du­rante shows off his skills to young Up­per Hutt foot­ball play­ers Ash­ley Miles and Tate Dev­line, while Up­per Hutt coach Brent Win­del­burn watches on.

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