‘Best group of kids’ make Springfield coach proud
WHEN you have a dedicated and skilful young team like coach Paul Waller has, it's a pleasure helping them improve their football.
That's why well-travelled mentor Waller is enjoying working with the Springfield United under-13 side playing in this year's Brisbane Youth Premier League South competition.
The Springfield team has won three of its first four games, including last weekend's 1-0 victory over Olympic.
Captain and centre back Lorenzo Kalavite converted a penalty to seal an important win at the Springfield Central Sports Complex.
For Waller, Lorenzo typifies the fine group of keen to learn juniors being developed at the progressive Springfield club.
"He's a very good, polite young man,'' Waller said.
"He turns up at training and takes the boys for a warm-up and then he does a warm down.
"That leaves me and the other coach (Shaun Nicholson) to get all the coaching sessions set up and ready.''
Waller has been impressed with every member of his squad.
"It's probably the best group of kids I've had in my life and I've been coaching 15 plus years at all levels,'' Waller said.
"I would say this is probably the first time I've had a squad of 15 kids that are all at a good competitive level.
"They just want to play . . . and they've bonded together really well.''
Waller has been at the Springfield club for five years working with teams from under 9s up to under 16s. He previously coached at clubs like Albany Creek, Ridge Hills and in Warwick at district level.
Waller said having such a receptive group of under-13 footballers allows him to introduce more skills.
"When you get the kids that are better, you can do the technical training,'' he said.
With a squad that is technically capable, Waller said he can move on to improving how to retain possession, better passing, triangular play, heading and teaching kids how to chest the ball.
"Where they should be striking the ball and what pace they should be doing it and when to go and when not to go,'' he said.
Waller said communication was an important part of his team's development as they rise into higher level football.
The coach praised the parents for supporting the players as they work hard to improve while enjoying their football.
The team's only loss was 5-1 to Lions when a number of players were away.
"I wasn't really expecting much on that day,'' Waller said.
"In the three games since, we've pretty much had a full squad.''
Leading into their latest win over Olympic, the Springfield side has beaten Centenary Stormers 5-1 away and Rochedale 2-1 at the Springfield Central Sporting Complex.
Waller said half his squad was playing under age, further highlighting their potential.
"We actually have two players that are under 11 and about six players that are under 12 and the rest are under 13s,'' he said.
The coach has been particularly happy with his bench players when given an opportunity.
"Especially against a club like Olympic . . . they come on and played really, really brilliant,'' he said.
That will provide a selection headache for Waller when matches resume in the 18 week Brisbane Youth Premier League competition.
The team has a bye this weekend before their next game against Annerley on May 30.
The Springfield United under-13 side is among more than 60 sides and 800 players representing the club in 2021 Football Brisbane competitions.
Waller appreciated the club's support.
He said being able to play at the Springfield Central Sports Complex was a massive boost after the club previously appreciated being able to use the Woodcrest College field.
"It's absolutely beautiful,'' Waller said of the more spacious Springfield Central pitches.
"Woodcrest (College) wasn't built to play on as a sporting complex (with multiple games each week). It was part of a school.''
Waller said having the Springfield Central facilities to train and play at supported the important development work going on at the rapidly growing club.
"The pitch is flat. You can actually try and play some passing football,'' Waller said. "And that's what you want to teach the kids.
"It's not just about whacking the ball up the field and chasing it.
"It's about holding it, passing it around and keeping that possession. You need nice flat fields to teach kids that part of football.
"And we do get that up at that nice, brand new complex.''