Dave Kirkland grew up in the Sutherland Shire and started playing for the Miranda Magpies in the U6s.
“An early memory was having a turn in goal, when they were big goals, in the pouring rain on a mud soaked field and copping a ball square in the face. Welcome to the beautiful game.”
He played until high school and then other sports grabbed his attention and he tried just about everything. Winter weekends through that period were usually spent in the surf or at the ski fields. It wasn’t until after high school that he was drawn back to the game.
“I ended up with a bunch of school mates at Sylvania. My playing career ended though when I stuck my foot in to block a shot on goal and things went in the wrong direction. I married well, a northern beaches girl, and I moved from one insular peninsula to the other.”
When his two girls could register, they were straight into Narrabeen FC and that started Dave’s career as a ‘dad coach’ over 15 years ago.
“I was lucky that Santa always put a round ball in the girls Santa sacks and that it was often their favourite present. The bonus was that soccer registrations start from U6s, so I could turn them to using their feet rather than playing netball. The greatest part is that I’ve had this easy connection through soccer with my girls and all their friends as they’ve grown up.”
Being a ‘dad coach’ wasn’t his first coaching foray, with a love for cricket igniting the pleasure for helping others improve, Dave got his Level 1 Cricket Coaching Accreditation. That thirst for self-improvement and greater knowledge, and a fear of giving poor advice, has meant he has taken every opportunity to pick up the free MWFA coaching courses.
“It’s easy to get lost in a lot of YouTube coaching videos and written theory. But there’s nothing like a practical course with your peers to give you a whole lot more insight and far better delivery of what you are trying to develop.”
When the Future Coaches Course opportunity presented itself, Dave was a bit wary as he had no long-term future goals to be a career coach on a pathway to higher honours.
“I didn’t want to be the round peg in the square hole, but it was great because I soon realised that it’s about improving coaching across the board. There are people here looking for pathways to career coaching, some looking to coach elite teams, some wanting to be a strong part of their clubs and some just like me. Through the course I think I’ve come to understand that I’m a development coach, looking to improve players and teams to play as well as they can. Winning is way cool, but seeing a team playing good soccer is the ultimate thrill for me. I’m excited for this season, I’ve got a crop of younger players joining the team. Let’s see if I can deliver what I’ve learnt.”
MWFA is looking forward to seeing David put all of his new knowledge and skills into practice and having a great season with his team.
Look out for more articles on other MWFA Future Coaches over the coming weeks.