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At Eastern Suburbs AFC, we pride ourselves on conducting training programmes in a safe, secure, and coach/player friendly environment. Our professional coaches will strive to ensure each player enjoys their football experience. All coaches and players will participate under the premise of respect for others and themselves.
ESAFC coaches adopt a person first approach and provide challenge and support in equal measure through creating safe, positive, learning environments that enable players to fall and stay in love with the game.
They provide age and stage appropriate holistic development with a focus on creating resilient, self-responsible, curious and creative players.
Our coaches role model the expected behaviours and standards and focus on individual long-term development in order for players to realise their potential both on and off the pitch
Darren Bazeley is our newly appointed Technical Director, tasked with overseeing both player and staff development across the club. Darren has recently returned to New Zealand following successful stints at both the Colorado Rapids in America, and the A-League club Newcastle Jets. He has now been appointed as both the All Whites Assistant Coach, and NZ U20s Head Coach, working closely with previous DOF Danny Hay. Darren brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the club as we look to continue to develop our player and coach development pathways.
Hoani is our Director of Youth Football at Eastern Suburbs, and newly appointed ISPS Handa National League Head Coach. Hoani has a long domestic playing career in New Zealand with over 500 senior competitive matches (100 of which were for Eastern Suburbs AFC Premier Men’s team). Prior to that, he represented NZ at age group level, playing for both the U17’s and U20’s. Through this experience, he has come to understand the sacrifice, commitment, and hard work that it takes to play football to the highest level. Hoani has since forged a pathway in coaching that has seen him cover all levels of the game, most notably the ESAFC Premier Men’s team and our National Youth League team. He also covers a range of grades within our Youth programme.
Michael Built is our Director of Junior Football, after making the shift to Eastern Suburbs AFC following a respected coach & playing career with the Hamilton Wanderers. As a coach, Michael took over the Head Coach role of the Hamilton Wanderers NRFL side in the late 2017 season, guiding them to safety when they looked destined for relegation. He also led them to a well-fought National Youth League title before relocating to Auckland. Prior to this, Michael gained professional coaching experience from Northampton Town & Bedford Town in England. As a player, Michael has a strong role within our NRFL and Premier League sides, as well as having represented New Zealand in the 2009 U17 World Cup and 2011 U20 World Cup. Michael currently oversees our 10th & 13th grade boys programmes.
Stephen is our Director of Girls & Women's Football, after shifting to Eastern Suburbs for the 2019/20 National League season as a player from rival team Canterbury Dragons. Stephen comes from a strong playing career which started with hometown club Barnsley and led him through several stints in the New Zealand National League and Canadian Premier League. Alongside this he also brings a wealth of coaching knowledge and a passion for community football, having led Nomads United to be the first NZF Skill Centre accredited club in the country. Stephen is currently our club Community Officer and Senior Women’s Programme coach.
Adam is another strong player who was originally attracted to our club for the 2019/20 National League season. He came to us from South Shields FC, following 8 years in the Manchester United development academy and spells with Preston North End, Hyde United, and FC United in the UK. Adam brings a wealth of coaching experience to the club, including a vast range of experience in junior and youth development. He has recently launched his one-on-one coaching business in partnership with Eastern Suburbs AFC, “The Pro Project”. Adam is currently working with a range of youth teams within the club.
Roy joined Eastern Suburbs in 2015 with the bulk of his experience from a player’s perspective, following a professional career spanning 5 years on Indian home soil. Roy is a current member of our NRFL Premier Men’s squad, and began coaching to supplement his career in the strength & conditioning industry. Because of this background, Roy has a strong knowledge of individual player development and is working hard to coach his players at the highest level. Roy currently has the unique opportunity to view players at both ends of our Player Development Programme, taking a lead role in 9th and 15th grade boys.
Christian is new to the club and holds a starting spot in our ISPS National League team, coming to us from Chatham Cup Champions Birkenhead United. As a coach Christian is committed to developing young players and has fit well into the coaching ranks under experienced Hoani Edwards. He is currently in his final year of a degree in Sport and Recreation at university, and aims to make his mark in the player development scene in the coming years.
Michael is a new coach to the club and brings with him a passion and attitude like no other. He is enthusiastic and has a real love for the game - something which is clearly evident in his sessions with the players. Having come to us from Sacred Heart 1st XI as a player, and then the Coerver Academy via Papakura FC as a coach, Michael has a great knowledge on building skill and technical ability in his players. He sees his players not just as athletes, but also as developing young people, and is intent on improving their ability to tackle life both on and off the pitch. Michael is currently working with our 11th grade girls, 13th grade boys, and 16th grade girls groups.
Rebekah van Dort
Rebekah has a rich playing background and is the current captain of our NRFL Women’s Premier team. She was an integral part of Mt Albert Grammars’ reign as the top school in women’s football from 2012 – 2015; and was part of the team which won 4 Auckland Titles & 3 National Championships. More recently she also captained our Senior Women’s Premier team to dual-titles of NRFL Premier and Kate Sheppard Cup Champions. As a coach, Rebekah has already made her mark by leading the 12th grade girls to the AFF title and is now looking to share her knowledge with a greater range of female players. Rebekah is an aspirational role model for our young female players, having taken a starting role in the AFF National Women’s League team, and knows what it takes to be dedicated and play at a high level. This season, Rebekah is overseeing our 14th grade girls programme.
Zach is one of our longest standing junior club members and began playing at Eastern Suburbs at the young age of four. Since then his passion for football has grown into an aspiration for career, having played through the grades and begun coaching at age twelve. Following an unfortunate run of injuries Zach was forced to give up his dreams as a player and focus his abilities on becoming the most supportive and knowledgeable coach he can be, with the intentions of growing his players in to strong and successful individuals. Zach has taken on a versatile role within our age groups, working with 9th grade boys, 14th boys, and 17th boys.
Adam is a new addition to the club, and one of our National League squad members. As a professional coach we are lucky to have him onboard as he looks to share his experiences on the world stage with our top-level youth players. Alongside being a prominent player in clubs such as Melville United and Auckland City FC, Adam has made his debut throughout the age grades for the New Zealand All Whites (NZ U17’s, NZ U20’s, and the NZ U23 Olympic Team). Adam came to us from the Ole Academy, and has a great understanding of what it means to be dedicated and work hard. As a coach, he intends to pass this understanding on to his players as he pushes them to reach their goals. Adam is currently coaching our 12th grade academy players.
Jaiden van der Heijden
Recently back from Scholarship in the United States, Jaiden has returned to Suburbs as he looks to start his career in the football industry. Jaiden is another prominent men’s player, having competed in both our National League and NRFL Premier Men’s teams in previous years. Paired with his role as an elite sports consultant for university scholarships and overseas contracts, Jaiden is a real asset to our coaching ranks. He has a strong passion for all things football and is committed to doing everything he can to help players achieve the level they aspire to.
Tayla has a true passion for football and has played since age 5. This journey has taken her to two U20 World Cups where she represented New Zealand with distinction. Taking a break from our NRFL Women’s Premier side and her FFDP commitments, Tayla has dedicated the past season to furthering her aspirations as a coach – aiming to pass on her knowledge and experience to young female players looking to follow in her footsteps. Tayla is another one of our inspirational young role models, looking to develop her abilities as a coach and impart her wisdom on the future generation of Lilywhites. She is currently working with our 10th and 14th Grade Girls.
Darcey began as a development coach in 2015 under the mentorship of Juan Roman, and has an obvious passion and ability as a coach. Darcey has played at Eastern Suburbs right from age 6, where she has made the top team in each age group and is now firmly fixed in our Senior Women’s Development squad. Darcey also has a role in the Epsom Girls Grammar A team, taking out Golden Boot in 2017 and the ESAFC Golden Boot in 2018. Darcey enjoys spending time out on the pitch, be it playing, coaching, or even grabbing a whistle, and her passion is evident in the way that she interacts with her players. This season Darcey is working with a range of age groups, including 9th, 11th, and 13th Grade Girls.
Kingsley came to Eastern Suburbs 3 years ago from Onehunga Sports due to his desire to play elite level football. He is currently a part of our NRFL Premier Men’s squad, as well as having a strong place in our National League squad. At a young age, Kingsley has already checked a number of prestigious moments off the bucket list – namely winning the 2018 Secondary School Nationals with Sacred Heart College and being named in the NZ U17’s and U20’s squads. Kingsley is one of our development coaches, working his way through the community coach pathway, and wants to share his knowledge with tomorrow’s up and coming Lilywhites. He is currently working under experienced coach Michael Built with our 10th and 13th grade boys groups.
Tyler is new to the Eastern Suburbs coaching ranks having recently joined us as a player during the 2019/20 National League season. As an Ole Academy graduate and ex-professional player, Tyler brings to us a wealth of knowledge and experience in the game. He has a passion for all things football and is excited to be able to share his passion with the next generation of young Lilywhites. Tyler is currently working under Head Coach Hoani Edwards and is looking to increase his formal coaching education to supplement his firm position our starting XI.
Olivia started her coaching journey last year after playing with Suburbs for 7 years. As she is still young, Olivia has big playing dreams as she looks to train hard and play at the highest level available to her. Since starting her coaching however, she is keen to develop a balance of her own football and her time developing new players coming through. Olivia has already had a number of exciting football achievements, including playing for the AFF Weir Rose Bowl winning team, being named as Captain and MVP for her AFF futsal age group team, and competing in year 9 for the Baradene Premier Futsal team. This season Olivia will be working within our 7th – 9th grade development programmes.
Newly inducted into the Eastern Suburbs coaching ranks, Campbell comes to us with a range of playing experience across ESAFC and Sacred Heart College teams. Campbell has an impressive and ongoing playing history taking on his second season in the ISPS Handa National League, as well as being named captain in 2017 for the NZF U17's All Whites squad. Campbell also became one of the youngest players to compete in the Oceania Football Champions League earlier this year at the age of 17. Campbell chose to give coaching a go as a way of giving back to the club, wanting to help to develop and encourage our young future Lilywhites. He already has a great understanding of the hard work it takes to compete at a high level, and is now keen to share this with his players. This season Campbell is working alongside experienced coaches Kane Wintersgill and Adam Thomas with 12th grade boys.
As one of our younger player-coaches, Jake came to Suburbs in 2017 following an upbringing at rival club Onehunga Sports. Jake made the move to Suburbs to play Senior level football, and quickly became a regular starter in teams such as our National Youth League squad and NRFL Premier Men’s. Jake is working hard to balance his commitments as a player and coach, whilst being a senior at Sacred Heart College, and is determined to contribute to the development of our junior players. Jake is currently the lead coach of our 7th and 8th grade development programmes.
Julia is another long-standing Lilywhite who has been playing with Eastern Suburbs since the age of 8. Julia has been playing AFF football for the club since 12th grade and is now a strong member of our U16 Girls Premier squad. She also plays for Baradene College, living and breathing her favourite sport. Having recently completed her Junior Level 1 coaching course, Julia has found a new passion in her coaching. She is currently working with our 7th-9th grade Skill Builders programme and is keen to share her passion with the next generation of Lilywhites.
As an up-and-coming and long-standing Lilywhite, this is Arya’s first season in the coaching ranks. Currently working with our aged 4-6 Kick Starters, Arya is looking to give back to the Eastern Suburbs community by encouraging our next generation of young players to fall in love with Football. Arya currently holds a starting role in our U16 Girls Premier team, as well as the Diocesan first XI team. She has also represented AFF twice at the National Age Group tournament – winning the 2019 competition and being named in the tournament team. Arya has a real passion for football and is keen to pass on the knowledge and experience she is developing on to her young players. Arya is also working alongside senior coach Mikey P as she looks to build on her coaching ability.
Ruby is one of our development coaches, beginning on the coaching pathway in 2019. She has already completed her first coaching course and is looking on to the next one as she aspires to give back to young players starting on their football journey. At such a young age, Ruby already has a rich playing history – this season she looks to move in to our 16th grade girl’s development squad, as well as continuing her time with the Baradene College team. She has also taken the field a number of times already as a representative for Auckland Football Federation in both Football and Futsal, and looks to continue on this player pathway. This season Ruby has started her coaching with our Kick Starter groups, working to develop a passion for football in players aged 4 to 6.
Sunz is our resident Strength & Conditioning (S&C) coach, working with players from 7th grade right up to our National League and NRFL Premier squads. Sunz is a well-recognised name in his field, and has come to contribute to many high-achievers in a number of sports. His passion for football sees him work with a number of New Zealand All Whites and Ferns, as well as international players who have sought him out specifically. Sunz has a clear passion for knowledge and is always seeking to increase his understanding of the way the human body can be developed. This is clear in his sessions, especially when dedicated to individual players and the ways that they can reach their sporting dreams through his programmes.
Danyon is our first team goal keeper, having come to Eastern Suburbs at the start of the 2019/20 National League season. With a coaching business of his own, to say he has a passion for developing young players would be an understatement. Whilst Danyon is a well-qualified coach, he also comes to us with a strong playing history across some of the country’s top leagues. He has competed in the National League for a number of years, as well as earning a place in the OFC Champions League on two separate occasions. Danyon narrowly missed out on a well-earnt spot at the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup due to injury. From the commencement of the 2020 Winter season Danyon has stepped into the role of lead goal keeping coach, as well as working with our 15th Grade Boys Academy players.