East Coast Bays appoint three Football Development Officers

East Coast Bays have boosted their team of coaches with the appointment of three new Football Development Officers.

Mingi So will lead the club’s pathway from youth to first team, and he will be head coach for the club’s men’s U-23 and U-17 teams.

Faiz Syed and Grace O’Donoghue will work in roles aimed at strengthening the club’s female development programmes.

Mingi So has coaching experience with first XI school teams (AHS, Takapuna) and as the Director of Football and first-team coach at Greenhithe FC and, more recently, the U-23 and assistant first team coach roles at West Coast Rangers.

On his appointment, he says:

“I made the move to ECB this year as not only does the club have one of the best development programmes in the country, it also has some of the best coaches and staff.

“It’s an environment which continuously produces amazing talent and people which makes it really exciting to be a part of.

“With the addition of upgrades to the grounds and facilities, it’s one of the best sports hubs in the country.

“As an ex-Bays boy, I hope I can help the players here achieve their goals and provide opportunities for success, much like how the club did for me growing up.“

Faiz Syed joins Bays from Northland FC, where he spent 2022 as a NRFL youth coach and delivering coach education across Northland.

He has 10 years’ coaching experience at senior, youth and grassroots levels, and has coached in Malaysia, Pakistan and in Christchurch, Wellington and Northland.

His previous roles have included Director of Football and first team head coach at Tikipunga AFC, Skills Centre Lead, U-23s and TDP Youth Coach at Petone FC and first team head coach at UCAFC Christchurch.

Syed is completing his OFC/NZF B Licence, is a NZF Community Coach Educator, holds a Bachelor in Sports Coaching – Performance Analysis, and is pursuing a MSc in Performance Football Coaching.

He will lead Bays’ girls and women’s football programmes, lead its community coach education programmes, and be head coach for the NRFL U-14 team and Skills Hub Coach and Junior Grade Support.

He says: “I’m delighted and incredibly excited to be given the opportunity to coach at the East Coast Bays Football Club.

“I’m extremely proud to be part of such a forward-thinking club and can’t wait to get started and support the development of NRFL youth players and community coaches at the club.”

Grace O’Donoghue started coaching as a hobby in 2016, and in the past three years, has been coaching junior and youth girls teams and programmes at Forrest Hill/ Northern Rovers.

She is completing her Junior Level 3 and OFC/NZF C licences and is in her final semester of a Bachelors of Sport Management & Coaching at AUT.

In her role as Football Development Officer: Women’s & Girls’ Football, O’Donghue will focus on developing female players through programmes such as the new Girls Talent Development Programme (TDP), Mini Girls, Junior/Youth Skills Hub (girls) and Bays’ futsal / school holiday / football in schools programmes.

She says: “I can’t wait to be more involved in football and upskill as a coach while using my skills to support girls and women at ECB.

“The fact the World Cup is here this year brings many opportunities to grow women and girls football. ECB is a club that really supports girls and women’s football and provides opportunities to people like myself to really give things a go, and be the best I can be professionally and personally.”

Meanwhile, East Coast Bays have farewelled Football Development Officer Milan Elie who is relocating to Wellington where he has accepted a role as the Federation Development Officer leading Coach Education and Talent at Capital Football.

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