Chris McNeil started playing football for the Budgewoi Budgerigars at age 5, as his family was into the game and it was part of his childhood community.
“I have always loved the simplicity and beauty of the game. As Diego Maradona said, ‘you only need a ball’.”
During his teenage years, the other football codes took him away from football, but after having met his Argentinian wife Magdalena, there was only really one choice of sport for their twin daughters to play during the winter. Chris’ wife organised a side from scratch for their girls to play in, made up mostly of girls from their primary school.
“Tom Miles at Manly Vale was incredible. He put himself out and offered to coach them. It was a real insight into community volunteering and just how dedicated people are who give up their weekdays and weekends to support and grow the game.”
In Chris’ case, he had never considered being able to take on a coaching role because of his work commitments, but after getting more flexibility with his job, he did eventually take on coaching the girls when they progressed to the U9s. He has now coached for 3 seasons at Curl Curl, both in the mixed and girls competitions, and it’s developed into a passion for him.
“I really enjoy coaching kids, and I also coach girls cricket. What I love about it is even just the small things, how simple lessons or techniques can make a huge difference. I really enjoy helping them learn teamwork, confidence and resilience, and more importantly, fair play. For me, being involved in team sports has helped me a lot in life, and I hope involvement in football at a community level will help the players grow in a positive way.”
Chris attended coaching courses with MWFA last season, and decided to then take on the Future Coaches Program to take his coaching to another level.
“I’ve enjoyed the Future Coaches Program and I think it has benefited me immensely. The ability to share ideas in an open way with other coaches and to get affirmation that your ideas are valid and on the right path has given me a lot of confidence coming in to the new season.”
Going forward, Chris plans to implement some of the new things he’s learnt in the Future Coaches Program, and eventually, take on the C-Licence coaching course as well.
MWFA is looking forward to seeing Chris continuing to develop as a coach and contributing to the football community.
Look out for more articles on other MWFA Future Coaches over the coming months.