Goalkeeper Drake ends playing career early to take up Metro FC coaching role

posted in: Coaching News, News, Recognition

Experienced goalkeeper Danyon Drake has quit his playing career at 28 to become part of a new-look coaching staff at Auckland club Metro FC.

Drake (main photo) will become co-head coach, working with mentor and co-head coach Nathan Christie who returns for his fifth season at the Lotto NRFL first division club.

The appointments follow a rejig of structure at the club which sees Tim Ragg become its Director of Football for 2022.

Ragg, who holds an OFC/NZF B Licence, will look after Whole of Football Programme (5-8 Grade) and coach education, U-9-U-19 grades and U-23 development through trials, team placement, coaching sessions and support.

Nathan Christie … fifth year in charge. Photo: Phototek.

The rest of the first-team coaching/management team include assistant coach Craig Squires, a former player who is working towards his C Licence, and goalkeeper coach Ants Owen who returns to the role after a break of several years.

Team manager and assistant goalkeeper coach is Matty Brunton who will support Christie for his fourth successive season.

Drake has been coaching junior and youth players for a number of years and is keen to make the step up to senior coaching ranks.

He has played under a number of experienced coaches at National League and Northern League level with clubs including WaiBOP United, Auckland City, Central United, Waitakere United, Glenfield Rovers, Eastern Suburbs and finished last season at Western Springs.

He played for Auckland City in the Oceania Federations Cup and at the FIFA Club World Cup.

However, he’s had one eye on a coaching career since running holiday programmes for youngsters when in his teens.

“My earliest memory of coaching was probably in my early teens just doing holiday programmes with 5 and 6-year-olds and putting sessions on for them,” Drake told the OFC website.

Having attended the inaugural OFC/NZF Goalkeeping C Licence coaching course in 2019, he returned a year later to begin his work towards the OFC/NZF B Licence.

Drake’s coaching philosophy is to understand the importance of enjoyment.

He told the OFC site:

“You want to make the sessions as enjoyable as you can and make sure the players come to every session and they’re continuing to enjoy playing football.

“Even when you get to my age or a bit older – or for anyone that plays the game – you hope they’re playing it because they love playing football and enjoy playing football.”

Metro FC’s partnership with Auckland City

Former All Whites striker Kris Bright (35) has been appointed to a newly-created role of Sporting Director, working with the first team coaching staffs of Metro FC and Auckland City.

He’ll report to the boards of both clubs and work with coaches to oversee “an aligned playing style and philosophy”.

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