Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reynolds a good role model for our youngsters

Photo: Kurt Reynolds demonstrates a technique for youngsters [PlessPix]

Kurt Reynolds, 43, is the new Football Federation Tasmania director of coaching and game development manager.

It is an inspired appointment as Reynolds is a Tasmanian who has reached a high level of the game, playing in the old NSL and captaining the Young Socceroos at the Under-20 World Cup in Chile in 1987.

If anyone can inspire our youngsters through personal experience, it is Reynolds.

He has done it, and he can tell our young players what is required for them to make it beyond these shores.

I interviewed Reynolds following his appointment.

Walter Pless: Where did you play your early football in Tasmania, and for how long?

Kurt Reynolds: I commenced playing with Trevallyn Junior Soccer Club in Launceston at the age of 7. From there, I progressed into the northern representative teams and Tasmanian state teams from U/13 to U/17. At 13 years of age, I joined Launceston Juventus ( now Launceston City), where I initially played U/17s and then progressed into the senior state league squad. At 15 years of age, I was selected into the AIS program on a fulltime scholarship.

WP: How did you catch the eye of the various national selectors?

KR: Through participating in the National Youth Championships, playing in the National Youth League with the AIS, and playing in the NSL.

WP: Tell me about your international career.

KR: My first international experience was with the AIS squad where, on two occasions, we travelled to Germany and Holland, where we participated in youth football competitions. The tours included tournaments at Borussia Dortmund, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord, with clubs from all over Europe competing. My first youth international was in 1986 at KGV against Czechoslovakia. We won the match 2-1. So, I have fond memories at KGV. Under coach Les Scheinflug, the Young Socceroos went onto the World Youth Cup qualifiers in Auckland, New Zealand, where we gained qualification with wins over Chinese Taipei, New Zealand and Israel. In preparation for the World Youth Cup in Chile, the team toured Thailand, Noumea and New Zealand, then Argentina on route to Chile. Competing in a World Youth Cup was, without doubt, my career highlight. Our group was based in Santiago and included Togo, Yugoslavia and the hosts, Chile. We achieved a 2-0 win in the opening match versus Togo, where Alistair Edwards and myself scored. Yugoslavia, who went on to win the competition, handed us a 4-0 drumming. Then came a 2-0 loss to Chile at their national stadium in front of 75,000 screaming Chileans.

WP: Tell me about your NSL career.

KR: My NSL career started at Blacktown City in Sydney in 1987. On return from the World Youth Cup, I transferred to Apia Leichardt under coach Rale Rasic. During that season, we won the NSL Ampol Cup competition. I then transferred back to Blacktown City, who had gained promotion back into the NSL. In conjunction with an employment opportunity, I then transferred to West Adelaide, where I played one season in the NSL, followed by a season in the South Australian State League.

WP: What did you do when your playing days were over?

KR: During my early 20s, I commenced a career in FMCG ( fast moving consumer goods) with Pepsi Cola. As the NSL was semi-professional, players needed another income source and potentially another career. Over time, I gained valuable learnings and promotion into more senior roles, predominantly in sales and marketing, which enabled me to progress into roles with a major Australian gourmet food importer and then Dairy Farmers in 2000. In 2002, I was approached by a large Saudi Arabian dairy business company to head up their sales and marketing group and relocated to the Middle East. Living and working in such an interesting and culturally diverse region was a wonderful experience.

WP: What was the highlight of your time with the Young Socceroos?

KR: Definitely the World Youth Cup in Chile. Pitting yourself and the team against players such as Yugoslavian’s Stimac, Prosinecki, Boban and Suker was a great challenge. Then, the penultimate match against Chile in front of 75,000 partisan supporters was special.

WP: What was the highlight of your NSL career?

KR: Winning the 1988 NSL Ampol Cup with Apia Leichardt on penalties versus Brunswick Juventus

WP: Did you ever face prejudice because you were from Tasmania?

KR: No!

WP: What advice would you give to young Tasmanian players trying to make it in football at the highest level in Australia?

KR: Be humble, believe in yourself, and work hard.

WP: What is your coaching philosophy?

KR: I like to break my coaching philosophy into two parts, personally, and football.

Personally, it is that nobody is bigger than the game. And, to add value in any football environment which I enter.

And as for football, to maximise the potential abilities of players through the provision of knowledgeable, current and game-related football methods in line with the FFA National Curriculum. In the game, this should be identifiable through the employment of a 1-4-3-3 playing system. A well-organised team structure in defence, attack and transition. A possession-orientated game style from playing out, building up and attacking with the ball predominantly on the ground. Strong utilisation of width and depth in attack through the 7 and 11, along with swift switches of play. Adequate numbers behind the ball in defensive set-plays and a modest but effective repertoire of offensive set plays.

WP: What are your aims in this new job?

KR: The key functions of the role are aimed at promoting and communicating the FFA NTC, building participation in the game, improving coach education in both the advanced and community pathways, organisation and facilitation of the talented player pathways, delivering community-based game development activities and communicating with key stakeholders within the game. My aim is to deliver these projects professionally, build the game in Tasmania, and enjoy the football along the way.

WP: Can Tasmania ever have an A-League team?

KR: Yes.

WP: Is there a place in football for a senior Tasmanian representative side to play regular matches?

KR: I believe that entry into the A-League would provide the obvious opportunity to achieve this. But, friendlies or promotional matches, such as the Central Coast Mariners versus Tasmania game at KGV this year, could be held more often.


Anonymous said...

Good appointment. Good to see a Tassie person in the role who may have more inclination to see a job thru and also a better understanding of our uniqueness and also how we can be brought more in line.

What does annoy me a bit is the 1433, ball out from the back, ball on ground stuff when continually we see from Socceroos, EPL, A League different formations and much more pragmatic (AKA direct) styles of play.

The big issue I have with the robots is that they play well together in a system but do not necesarily fit into real world teams and this is probably why the constraints have been put around the use of the TIS boys in the SPL.

What a boring sport football will become when every team plays the same way!

Anonymous said...

Great work by fft for once, would be great to see a tas team play more games even against other states to see where we are at, could also be good to make the team as strong as possible and bring some boys from the mainland back to play, interesting to see how long hes based in launceston

Anonymous said...

Completely agree anonymous. This 'one size fits all' curriculum creates the most boring, predictable and soulless games. Where is the individuality, the joy and the passion? All part of FIFA's plans for continued world domination perhaps. Where is the long diagonal cross field pass? It's one of the greatest skills of our game. Forget about the Dutch and total football or the Nigerians. Now all kids from Kathmandu to Kingston will be playing 'football' aka basketball. No wonder most kids give it up...completely bored, burnt out and uninspired, trained into the ground by some megalomaniac of a coach. So that's good for the game is it?

Richard Bennett said...

the philosophy of possession football on the floor is without question the way the game should be played but the 4-3-3 formation is irelevant as formations need to be flexible (total football renus mickels teams) and formations are based on tactical and team capability considerations.

I too think the FFA are being too rigid in their curriculum.

However I find Kurts interview one of the best you have put out Walter and have great faith in what he has said. a good appointment and let's support his efforts to assist young local players.

thanks again for your efforts in putting these interviews together Walter.