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New Zealand Football confirms 2020/21 season details

New Zealand Football has confirmed the details and starting dates of its national competitions for the 2020/21 season, during October and November.

New Zealand Football has confirmed the details and starting dates of its national competitions for the 2020/21 season.

The national men’s football league, the ISPS Handa Premiership will start in November, while the National Women’s League will commence from the weekend of October 31.

COVID-19 has also forced some structural changes to be made to both the men’s and women’s competitions.

In the ISPS Handa Premiership, the competition will feature eight club instead of the usual 10 teams. The South Island teams, Southern United, Tasman United and Canterbury United Dragons, will merge for the upcoming season. They will play under the Canterbury United Dragons name.

The competition will retain its usual format of a regular season with each team playing each other twice before a finals series including semi-finals and a grand final – the latter is expected to be held in March 2021.

Plans for a promotion and relegation framework have been postponed and will be reviewed before the 2021/22 season.

The National Women’s League will be played as a single round robin competition for this season. A grand final will be held on the weekend of December 19. The competition will feature all seven women’s teams.

“It has taken a lot of work with our clubs and federations to get to this stage but we are excited to now be able to confirm initial details of our national competitions for the upcoming season,” Daniel Farrow, General Manager of Football for New Zealand Football said in a statement.

“While Covid-19 and the knock-on effect of shifting community football dates has had an impact on the length of competitions and, in the case of the ISPS Handa Premiership, the number of teams able to take part, running men’s, women’s and futsal national league competitions this year was a key priority and we are very pleased to be able to make that happen.

“We also want to acknowledge the support of Sport NZ and our on-going partnership with Trillian Trust as key contributors to staging competitions this season.”

The 2019/20 ISPS Handa Premiership was called off early in March due to COVID-19. Auckland City, who were leading the competition at the time, were declared champions.

Daniel Foley
Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

Mediacoach: LaLiga’s secret weapon

Coach using mediacoach

Developed by LaLiga, Mediacoach is a video analysis platform which ensures that all 42 LaLiga clubs are able to analyse practically all of the tactical, technical and physical aspects of their own side and their rivals.

In football, the smallest details can be key to deciding the outcome of a match. Mediacoach allows for all clubs from LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank to have access to a depth of tactical analysis like no other. The comprehensive live in-match data covers a range of football statistics including distance covered, player positioning, speed and ball movements.

Big Data is critical to football in the modern era, and this initiative is a fine example of how LaLiga is leading football in an innovative fashion.

Having been introduced to Spanish football in 2010, Mediacoach has grown to have over 430 club staff across 42 clubs utilising the tool. Mediacoach is hoping to expand their features to ensure that even more groups, from club trainers to media partners, can benefit from it.

This season alone has seen a multiplication of the number of cameras in the stadiums in order to progress real-time data tracking to new levels, whilst making the tool available to more users via the cloud.

Coaches like Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane and Barcelona’s Ronald Koeman (plus their extensive coaching staff) have Mediacoach at their disposal every week. The tool allows for detailed pre-match report, video analysis, accumulated reports to run through all potential on-field scenarios and developments, performance statistics, tactical camera footage and post-match reports.

Ricardo Resta, director of LaLiga’s sports area and the Mediacoach platform, credited the ambitious nature of the world-first initiative.

“The use of data is a huge differentiator for the global sports industry. With Mediacoach we are ensuring that the best information can be accessed by all LaLiga clubs, no matter their size. It’s how we ensure that the league grows as one,” he said.

“Multi-camera technology is able to track movements on a football pitch down to very fine margins. Increasing its use in LaLiga stadiums provides even higher levels of accuracy so that coaches can make informed decisions in the heat of the moment.”

Pascoe Vale FC faces opposition in effort to develop pitches

Pascoe Vale players

National Premier Leagues Victoria side Pascoe Vale FC has responded to opposition from locals to their proposed plans for Moreland’s Hosken Reserve pitch.

Plans to refurbish Hosken Reserve have been considered in the past, however Moreland City Council’s Hosken Reserve Masterplan represents the most recent effort to revamp the ground, with Pascoe Vale FC putting forward a plan to develop synthetic pitches for football use.

Assessing the options for The Hosken Reserve Masterplan refresh are a consortium group – theCommunityCollaborative, who will be considering which pathway is best to ensure a balanced approach to sport, community health and wellbeing.

Facing opposition from members of the public who fear the loss of space for their own recreational activities is Lou Tona, a spokesperson for Pascoe Vale FC. He acknowledged that the club is disappointed by the opposition they have faced throughout the consultation process.

Football at Hosken Reserve

Pascoe Vale FC are a staple of the Moreland community, not just as a provider of grassroots development for younger generations, but in exemplifying the values of the city itself through its practices, education of young people and their dedication to community growth.

Tona has cited that the attitudes of residents of the proposed plans have been nothing short of disappointing. Comments have been made by members of the ‘Keep Hosken Reserve Accessible for All group’ on social media, which Tona believes flies directly in the face of the values of Moreland as a city.

“We had a pop-up recently where there were many kids playing and parents there too, and they referred to us as ‘mafioso soccer goons’ online,” he said.

“In this day and age, we’re quite disappointed that this is what’s happening. As a club we are fully understanding of the consultation process, we’re fully invested in it and we fully believe in it. And we’re happy to move forward with whatever the outcomes are for the reserve and we’re looking forward to positive outcomes for the whole community.

“From day one of it heading to consultation we embraced and accepted that it needed to go that way. We’re all for freedom of speech and for working with the community. We want to be great neighbours; however, we just feel that some of our neighbours are throwing racist remarks, anti-football remarks and antagonistic remarks towards us as a club.

“Our submission & plans are to do with us as a football club and it being a sports reserve, and to be treated in that way has been extremely disappointing.

“The club stands for what the city of Moreland stands for – ‘One Community, Proudly Diverse’.”

Football Coaches Australia present ‘The Football Coaching Life Podcast’ #6 with Gary Cole interviewing Ernie Merrick

Ernie Merrick is well known in Australian Football circles. He has coached most recently at Newcastle Jets, Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory in the A-League.

Ernie Merrick is well known in Australian Football circles. He has coached most recently at Newcastle Jets, Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory in the A-League, where he had great on-field success in terms of both results and developing players. Ernie also had a short stint as the Coach of the Hong Kong National Team.

Prior to his A League experiences Ernie played at Frankston City, coached, and played at Doveton and was assistant coach at Frankston Pines in the State Premier League.  He moved on from the Victorian competitions to the National Soccer League and coached at Preston Lions and Sunshine George Cross. He was then appointed as the inaugural Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) Head Coach where he helped to develop players for the Australian Junior National teams – Josh Kennedy, Scott McDonald, Matthew Spiranovic, Eugene Galekovic, Paul Giannou, Con Blatsis, Danny Allsopp, Leigh Broxham, Adrian Leijer, Roddy & Andy Vargas, Jimmy Jeggo, Simon Colosimo and Vince Grella – to name a few!

Perhaps most well remembered as the hugely successful inaugural Coach at Melbourne Victory where he helped build one of the A-Leagues benchmark clubs from the ground up. During his time at Melbourne Victory from 2005 to 2011 he won the Championship in 2006-2007 and 2008-2009, the Premiership in 2006-2007 and 2008-2009 and the Pre-Season Cup in 2008-2009 completing the treble.

Ernie’s teams have always had a focus on attacking and scoring goals and indeed his record shows this.

Please join me in sharing Ernie Merrick’s Coaching Life.

https://thefootballcoachinglifepodcast.podbean.com/e/ernie-merrick/

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