Well, here we are. The very first ‘Directors Dribble’! And it seemed appropriate to kick things off by taking a look back at the year 2020. To reflect on all that we have achieved. All that we have created as an organization. For the people that we serve. For the players. The families. And, we believe, for the future of our game.
Truth be told, our journey goes much further back than 2020 though. It goes back decades. For all of us as a team of passionate football coaches.
My personal journey in football extending beyond three decades. From a young dreamy football-obsessed child with aspirations of playing professional football. Playing for my country. And making the game my living. To living the roller-coaster that is ‘youth football’…
Experiencing rejection. Learning how to “dig deep”. Building resilience. Before then being called up to the U17s State & National Team Pre World Cup Camp. To then have the fortune of playing National Youth League and dabbling in 1st Team football within the old NSL set-up. All whilst still trying to figure out “the meaning of life” as a bright-eyed teenager!
Fortunately I was able to navigate that with some success. And experience what it was to live and play professional-level football. Both locally and in the UK. Before then retiring and purchasing a ticket on the scariest roller-coaster at the ‘Football Amusement Park’ … Professional Coaching!
True to form – not wanting to waste any time – I jumped straight in! Barely fastening my seatbelt before acquiring my AFC / FFA C then B licenses, taking on Technical Director & Advisory roles, Youth & Senior Head Coach roles, and then accepting the challenge of reintroducing a global skills program back into Sydney in 2017.
But it all changed in 2020 – when a vision for something bigger appeared. Something more purposeful. Something that could have an even greater impact on the game and the people that we serve through it. And, it was then, that Spark Futbol was born!
But inside this organisation lay a deep desire to do something more in, and for, the game and it’s people.
Not just coach. Not just facilitate another football program. Not just create another Academy. But deliver something that – in its full spectrum – could truly impact lives. Both on and off the field. Along with maybe, just maybe, revolutionise junior and youth football development in this country. On many levels. Creating an environment that could truly develop the football player across all areas necessary to maximize their full potential. And – most importantly – their love for the game.
And through this – our 4-Key Pillars of Player Development were born!
Intelligence ~ Technique ~ Biomechanics ~ Mindset
So, it wasn’t just 2020 that birthed Spark Futbol and our approach to Player Development. It was the decades of learning and experience before that showed us that there wasn’t one sole area – or silver bullet – to “make a player”.
Players had to learn and develop across multiple areas. Experience different things. Be provided support and guidance in specialist areas most didn’t (or couldn’t) go near. Along with, at a pure footballing level, train under a method, approach, and curriculum(s) that was constantly evolving. Had access to the latest global trends, drills and approaches. Was game-relevant. Tailored to the age and stage of the player. And that took into account all necessary areas required to develop a football player. Insert our 4-Key Pillars.
So, with that seed planted, the concept of ‘Environment Creation’ was was birthed. And the idea that, if we could just somehow create an environment that could facilitate learnings and development across all key areas of player development, then maybe, just maybe, we might be able to create something truly special. Something that produces an outcome. And makes a difference. To the player and the person.
And that we did! Not only creating an Approach, Method, and Curriculum that was holistic and had decades of football knowledge, experience, and learnings in it. But which also partnered with some of the best in the world. Specialists in their field. Experts and GIANTS in their industries.
From partnerships with globally leading brands like Puma and Alpha Elite Gear. To opening up doors to industry-leaders in sports psychology like Tom Bates and exercise physiotherapists like Will Thom. To direct-access into globally leading and modern coaching approaches and best-practices through our network and research – to stretch and refine our own thinking and approach.
All with the view that junior and youth players experience and development stems from the environment. And the environment is the key!
We now look back at how far we have come. The experts and leaders we have on board. The methodology and curriculum we have created. And will continue to create, refine, and evolve. The programs and initiatives set to launch in 2021. And, in a very short (but in many ways long) period, we have (we feel) already created something very unique. Something that might just ‘fill the gaps’, as we see it, in the current landscape of player development in Australia. And maybe, just maybe, have a positive, significant, and long-lasting impact on the future of our game. And the next generation to come.
We now sit here on the cusp of 2021. Looking to the horizon. And seeing the potential. With a sense of excitement. An electricity running through the body.
We believe what we are doing to be special. And may well challenge the status-quo. But the game has stood idle in this country for too long now. It’s time to make a difference. It’s time for things to change. Because great things only happen, when people dare to dream.
The SPARK has been lit!
See you on the pitch!