Coastal Spirit say farewell to departing director of football Gary Bennett

Gary Bennett will leave Canterbury’s Coastal Spirit at the end of December after more than six years as the club’s director of football.

In a farewell message shared on social media, the club said:

Gary Bennett … to leave Coastal Spirit. Photo credit: Coastal Spirit.

“We would like to acknowledge and thank Gary for his dedication and expertise over his tenure at Coastal Spirit.

“His work within our community and schools has meant that a lot of kids have been able to experience the beautiful game of football. Gary’s efforts in promoting female football is outstanding alongside the work with our premier teams and celebrating in their successes.

“Gary is embarking on a new chapter in his life, and while we are sad to see him go, we are also excited for what the future holds for him.

“Thank you, Gary, for your dedication, your passion and the countless hours you have given to make Coastal Spirit awesome!

“Even though Gary is leaving his official role, he will still remain part of the Coastal Spirit whanau supporting our many teams on the sidelines. Please join us in wishing Gary, his wife Andrea and son Max all the best for their next adventures.”

In his farewell message, Bennett says: “The time has come for me to move on. I have enjoyed much of my time with the club and would like to thank them for bringing me and my family back to New Zealand.

“For me, football is about people and relationships, and I am incredibly proud of the relationships I have built with schools and community groups, which have given many children the opportunity to play football that they may not otherwise have had.

“I am equally as proud to have worked together with other football clubs to create both community opportunities and high-performance pathways, firstly with St Albans Shirley FC and more recently with the other clubs on the east side of Christchurch, to be part of the inaugural season of Otakaro F.C.

“It has been great to have been involved with our Men’s and Women’s senior teams who have played at the highest level available to them. I have enjoyed the incredible success of our women’s team, who have won many trophies, including six Women’s Premier League titles in those six years.

“There has been some incredible achievements and watching our players progress into professional football and play on the international stage, including World Cups, has certainly been and will continue to be emotional.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and given much of their time to the club over the last six years. I will miss the Coastal Whānau and wish the club all the best for the future.”

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