Auckland Football’s National Women’s League campaign got underway this week with the first lot of trials taking place under the watchful eye of Head Coach Tracy Wrigley and recently appointed Assistant Steven Upfold.
“After a year off, Upfold returns to the coaching team as Wrigley’s Assistant, a position he held in 2014 next to former Head Coach Rico Wilson.”
“I’m really excited, It’s great to be involved again,” says Upfold
“I think after the club season what you get with players who are involved in this are people who are committed and really enjoy their football.”
“So, it’s just another chance for me to help some people enjoy their football again and hopefully help them take another step towards achieving their full potential, which is really exciting.”
The coaching duo have previous experience of working together in the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League except this time around Wrigley takes on the Head Coach duties.
“Steve and I have worked together coaching Pukekohe in the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League with Steve leading and me assisting. I think we are both quietly amused at our role reversal,” says Wrigley.
“Overall, I think we have a good relationship. Steve and I have spoken and hopefully he will challenge stuff and speak up which will make the group stronger.”
The 2016 National Women’s League campaign kicks off on October 16 with Auckland hosting Canterbury United Pride at William Green Domain and will play six round robin matches before the Preliminary final takes place on December 4. The grand final is scheduled for December 11.
Before that though, the pair’s first test together at this level takes place on Sunday when they come up against the New Zealand U-17 Women’s side, a match Wrigley believes will be a good test.
“We are fortunate we’ve got a couple of really good friendly matches coming up.”
“This Sunday we play the New Zealand U-17’s in their last match before they head off to the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup.”
“It’ll be good to be able to play some really good opposition that will be quite organised and challenge us straight away and then we move onto the New Zealand U-20’s next Sunday.”
The last time an Auckland Football side reached the final of the National Women’s League was in 2012, a campaign Upfold was a part of and while it would be nice to achieve that again, or go one better, his main priority is helping each individual improve over the next couple of months.
“Obviously every team that’s in the league wants to be successful with results but my first priority is to do what I can to help the players individually get better during their time with us.”
“If we can do that effectively I think it gives us a chance to get into the later stages of the competition and be successful with results.”
The playing squad for this season’s campaign will be announced in due course.
National Women’s League Management team
Head coach: Tracy Wrigley
Assistant coach: Steven Upfold
Manager: Carol Waller
Media Officer: Steph Trowill
Physio: Mei Morton
Vs Canterbury United Pride, William Green Domain, Sun 16 Oct, 1pm
Vs Northern Football, Domain 3 QBE Stadium, Fri 21 Oct, 7:30pm
Vs Capital Football, William Green Domain, Sun 30 Oct, 1pm
Vs WaiBOP Football, John Kerkhof Park, Sun 6 Nov, 1pm
Vs Central, William Green Domain, Sun 13 Nov, 2pm
Vs Southern United, Peter Johnston park, Sat 26 Nov, 1pm