It's been another great week for women’s football in the Mainland region with the news that Canterbury United Pride head coach Alana Gunn has been awarded her OFC/NZF B coaching licence.
The new Canterbury Pride head coach has been working towards the coaching licence since 2015 and is now qualified to coach at the National Women’s League level and eligible to work towards her A licence which would allow her to coach professionally overseas.
Gunn is gracious for the support she has recieved throughout the process and the opportunities she has had to try things her own way.
“I’ve always been given a lot of freedom in terms of developing my own philosophy and style and I guess ability to try things and fail which is the only way you can improve really.”
Gunn began coaching with Coastal Spirit in 2012 under the then women’s head coach Gareth Turnbull. She took over the head coach role in 2013 winning the New Zealand Knockout cup that year, as well as four league titles and four Reta Fitzpatrick Cup titles in the following four years.
She has also coached the Pride academy youth team and still currently coaches the New Zealand Women’s Secondary Schools team and the St Andrews College women’s 1st 11.
“I’ve been really fortunate to have the guidance from Gareth at Coastal and John Herdman helped lead my Level 2 when he was here and I think some of the stuff that he was doing was awesome.”
And despite Gunn’s strong CV, her focus is now firmly focused on the Mainland region.
“I’m really passionate about Canterbury and trying to grow the WPL and the NWL and the quality coming out of the region.”
The achievement follows New Zealand Football’s announcement of the Female Coach Scholarship Programme last month where 21 coaches from across New Zealand were awarded funding to support their coaching development.
Mainland Football women’s football development officer and pride captain Annalie Longo, one of the 21 recipients of the scholarship, said Gunn’s feat will inspire future female coaches to follow in her footsteps.
“It is important to have female coaches to provide diversity in the coaching sector, Gunnie will provide a visible career pathway for females to enter the coaching profession.
If we want to grow and develop the game, female coaches are a crucial element to this.”
Mainland Football chief executive officer Julian Bowden said Gunn’s achievement is a prime example of the opportunities that are now available for girls and women who are interested in a career in coaching.
“There are now clear pathways in developing coach educators within clubs in Christchurch and around New Zealand. This means that it’s easier for coaches to attend coaching courses within their own communities and club structures are now far more inclusive of female coordinators to help promote the development of women's football.”
Gunn will get her first opportunity to show off her latest coaching credential when she takes to the dugout for the Pride’s National Women’s League opener against Capital Football at English Park on September 16.
Article added: Friday 17 August 2018